We were getting ready for Tasha’s birthday party. Hosting a party is an excellent way to guarantee a neat and tidy house. Serious attention is given to what might otherwise go unnoticed.
“When will you do something about that pile of books under the cabinet?” Tasha said as we cleared my collage materials from the dining room table.
“Soon,” I said. Without another word I turned, scooped them up, and put them in the back of the hall closet.
“That’s not really a good place for them,” she said as she spread out the gold tablecloth. “I had hoped you’d have sorted through them by now and decided which you want to keep and which to pass on.”
I took out the silverware. “I will do exactly that,” I assured her.
“Soon,” I promised. “Though it’s not an immediate priority, it’s high on my list.”
She smiled. “What are your immediate priorities? Tell me! I’d be really curious to know.”
I stopped to think. “Well, I suppose you must have a list of things you know you’ll finish up relatively soon versus those you’ll get to eventually.”
“I do, but I asked you first. Perhaps instead I should ask you when does soon become now?” She got out paper napkins and arranged them.
“Are you suggesting I’m not pulling my weight?”
“Not in the least,” she smiled. “I’m just curious about how you determine your priorities.”
I nodded. “There’s soon, and of course there’s very soon as well as eventually, and of course sooner than later. There now, does that answer your question?” I turned to take plates out of the cabinet.
“No,” she sighed, ” and I’m really not in any way being critical. But sometimes,” and her voice trailed off, “I do wonder.”
“Of course you’re not being critical. You, critical after all these years?” I smiled. “How could I ever even suggest that–a little picky maybe but certainty never critical.”
She began filling the candy dishes. “It’s really not good Feng Shui for there to be piles of books, magazines, odd papers and whatever else of yours cluttered in closets, hidden behind chairs, even on the floor by your side of our bed, let alone on the top of your desk.”
“If anyone heard you speak this way they’d think I was disorganized, even scattered. But believe me I know where everything is. We’re living in a much smaller house you know and I have to pigeon hole my stuff where I can until I have time to get to it.”
“And just when is that time?”
“Soon,” I promised her. “We all have to have priorities.”
“Yes,” she seemed to agree. “And that was what I asked you in the first place. What are your priorities and when does soon become now?”
“My immediate priorities include getting my novel finished, working on a number of collages, writing the press releases for the Poetry Evenings at the Library, finishing editing two other manuscripts not to mention half a dozen other things.”
“Of course when one puts off doing what one doesn’t want to do when one doesn’t want to do it, then that task becomes even more monumental than had one done it in the first place.” She went into the kitchen, took vegetables from the fridge and began slicing them up.
I followed her and began cutting up the vegetables for my salsa. “I couldn’t agree with you more. But there is one advantage when things are out of sight.”
“That because I don’t see them I forget about them.”
“That could be an early sign of elderly behavior,” she said.
“Or it could be just good time management on my part.”
“Don’t you think you’re kidding yourself?”
“Certainly not! Ultimately we all have a master plan, however remote it may seem at the time. How else would we ever accomplish anything if we don’t know that ultimately we’d take care of everything.”
“Well, in that case I could just stop doing whatever I’m tired of having to do and instead devote my time to doing what interests me.”
“Stop doing what?”
“Oh I don’t know,” she smiled. “Maybe laundry, cooking, even food shopping. Then when you ask me when we’ll have supper or when your tee shirts will be washed I could just say soon, or even very soon, or possibly even eventually.”
I cut up the Hungarian peppers and added them to the tomatoes, celery, and onions. “But that’s not like you. You like to cook!”
“Oh I wouldn’t mind being a lady of leisure,” she assured me. “Tell you what. Let’s trade responsibilities. That way I could devote my days to my writing and you could take over running the house.”
“We might eat a lot more pizza that way. Besides then I’d never get to do those things you specifically want me to do because I’d be doing everything else.”
She shook her head. ‘It wouldn’t work anyway. Whenever I ask you to do something around the house you invariably ask me to help you do it. I have a feeling you might not get all that much done, and neither would I.”
“Oh eventually sooner or later I would.” I put my arms around her and hugged her.