C was furiously cleaning the house and I was feeling guilty, lazy, exhausted and annoyed.
"When I even hear about a man cleaning house," Carla said to me once. "I get turned on." (She actually used a more graphic phrase, but we'll leave it at 'turned on.')
I'm sure most women feel the way she does. It would be great if I did too. But when he takes out the mop and the Murphy's oil soap, the anit-bacterial hand soap, and the Green eco-whatever liquid soap we have, I want to run away to the nearest debauched place and drink beer (and I don't even like beer,) and waste my money on strippers and poker. In short, I feel morally inferior.
"Can't you just stop?" I whined. He was a whirling dervish of activity. The answer was no. Once he gets going, he can't stop, he won't stop, he doesn't want to stop. I feel that way myself, when I'm on a roll. I just don't usually get on a roll with cleaning.
I realize I've been feeling irritated at everyone that way lately. "Can't you just stop?" I want to plead. For some reason, I need everyone to stop. I need us all to stop rushing around. Obviously, it's really me whom I want to stop. Even when I'm not visibly occupied in a productive task my mind is whirring. I play Sudoku, I read celebrity gossip online. I make lists, I plan, I read, I scribble, I call people, I email. I'm working on two new essays and a play simultaneously. I flip from one project to the next.
What my soul is screaming for me to do is stop and feel. Let myself feel all that's been going on and not do anything about it, just be. Just look at the garden, just sit on the couch. No one is stopping me. C would actually prefer it if I left the house while he cleans and went to a bookstore or took myself to a movie. (Sorry, people, he's taken.)
What's all the activity about anyway? I'm trying to avoid feeling like a Bad person. Bad people are lazy and unproductive. I'm not bad because look at me, I'm working, I'm working. I've been teaching at three different schools for the past few weeks, and while I used to do even more classes than this, I must have gotten old or something because I'm whupped. (I know it's boring to hear a spoled woman with no kids and a man who cleans complain about fatigue, but hey, I have an auto-immune thyroid condition guys. I get some kind of bit of slack for that.)
I was so tired today, teaching at the high school that I looked at the clock and couldn't tell what time it was. The position of the hands on the clock face made no sense to me. "That clock is wrong, right?" I asked the regular teacher. He glanced up. "No, it's right." It could have been the middle of the night for all my weary brain could figure out.
Why do I think I have to prove my worth by being productive? Dumb question: because I'm American, that's why. Because eeveryone feels this way.) I long to just sit and fall deeply into the center of myself, into the center of everything, and to feel all right just sitting there.