An Inconvenience Truth

So I’m embarrassed to say that I have not had my hair cut for a whole year.  It now hangs in uneven locks down my back. This, from a trim, chic, Claire Underwood style that would ordinarily make any hairdresser proud.

What happened?

The year got away from me. I thought 2016 was the armageddon, but 2017 bitch-slapped that lilly-livered pretender into oblivion. And the resulting collateral damage . . .

My hair.

I just couldn’t find the time, the motivation, the energy to get my behind down to my hairdressers. Her salon is waay down south–a forty five minute drive at best–and I just couldn’t make it happen.

It was too inconvenient.

So this got me thinking–what are all the things I don’t do because they’re simply too inconvenient?

Things that I want to do; things that I must do; things that would make my life easier or better? Like going to the gym or cooking breakfast instead of hitting the drive through or undoing the button on my rolled up cuff before I throw it in the laundry instead of after. But they’re just too difficult to do.

Because effort. And inconvenience.

It’s easier to shop at Ralphs instead of Sprouts because that would take me (inconveniently) out of my way.

It’s easier to take the toll road instead of surface streets. To pull up to the drive through instead of stopping at the grocery store.

Because we have complicated our lives in so many ways–long commutes to work, after school activities that nobody wants to go to (most especially the kids), checking things off a whole page of productivity apps on the phone–convenience has become the default position. We just don’t have the bandwith. We have added more, which has compromised our ability (and will) to do less.

Last week I was invited to a poetry reading by a dear friend. It sounded like a great idea. When I accepted the invitation. But when an hour had passed and I was still only ten miles down the freeway with another twenty to go, I lost my enthusiasm (and my resolve) and turned around and went home.

It was too damn inconvenient

I really did want to go. It would have been a lovely evening, and a rare opportunity to visit with my friend.

But I couldn’t do it.

Anymore than I can untie my shoelaces before I slip my shoes off.

***

So what is one to do?

My first instinct is to circle the wagons, bring everything closer to me, within arm’s reach, or at least within a five-mile radius. And this, I think, will help.

Why drive 25 miles down the freeway when a Fantastic Sam’s will do just as well?

Ok, strike that. Maybe I have to continue to make the drive to the hair salon for just a little bit longer. At least until I’m so old that people have stopped looking . . . or until my eyesight fails . . . wait, I think that day might already be here.

Anyway, that’s not the point is it? It’s about how we’ve complicated our lives to the point where we now seek refuge in convenience.

Add more. Spend more. Complain more about how much we have added and spent. And then circle back once again.

Bandaids.

The truth is that no amount of convenience can compensate for the sheer volume of stuff-we-have-to-do that we have invited into our lives. I have invited into my life.

***

So here’s a list of things I’m going to ditch in the new year:

Grocery shopping at three different stores each week because the produce is sooo much better at this one and the toilet paper soooo much cheaper at the other.

Dry cleaning. If something gets “ruined” in the wash, I’ll just chuck it out (or donate it to a size 2 thrift store)

Grading. Okay fine, I still have to grade. But I don’t have to grade every single assignment. Time for students to take charge of their own learning.

Going to “networking events” that are mostly just opportunities for people to sell me crap. (Although that three-foot-tall, deer-shaped votive candle holder does look awfully cute . . . )

Going to department meetings.

Meetings.

And yes, maybe even the 25-mile-long haircut.

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