I’m not sure what’s got into me of late, but my natural tendency towards procrastination has given way to a ‘let’s do the show right here’ attitude. As a result, numerous tasks I’ve been putting off for years (no exaggeration) have been despatched with alarming speed. Best of all, it isn’t displacement activity. I’ve been doing my proper authorial-type work too.
Example: In the autumn of 2006, a biblical downpour (on the day of Don Lusher’s memorial service, as it happens – had I a canoe, I could have ridden the rapids down to the station that morning) exposed the shortcomings of our bathroom roof/ceiling. Removing a section of damp, crumbling plasterboard with alarming ease – it had the consistency of cheesecake – I was able to fix the holes in the felt with a can of Thompson’s Instant Repair, and bung up a fresh bit of plasterboard across the gap. However, for the last 3 years, I’ve been looking at the gaps between the edge of the plasterboard and the wall and saying to myself “I must fill that in and paint over it”. Reader, I filled it, shortly after repainting the front door, sorting out the bookshelves in my study and putting new hinges on the pull-down flap of the cupboard by the kitchen door so that it opens and closes properly for the first time in months. All were relatively tiny, easily-achievable things that had acquired a significance out of all proportion by being put off for so long. It’s not all backlog, either. The decision that the larder door would benefit from a bolt, fitted well out of reach of small persons who had taken to using the kitchen as a potato bowling alley, was followed immediately by the fitting of said bolt. That the bolt in question had been bought to be fitted to a door in my previous house shows how far we’ve come. I never got around to fitting it, stuffed it in a drawer still in its shrink wrap and transported it over 100 miles when we moved here 7 years ago.
Then there was the enormously satisfying business of downloading a bit of software that identifies duplicate files on your computer for safe deletion. I’ve cleared my hard drives of several gigabytes of superfluous old toot. If only one could download something like that for analogue life. Something that, Mary Poppins-style, sorts piles of papers when you whistle. “This is the manual for something you no longer own, but this is your birth certificate. This is a cherished letter from your deceased grandmother, this is a press release for something now obsolete that was utterly useless even when it was launched”. That sort of thing.
I’m sure this burst of industry won’t last, but I’m enjoying it while it does.