Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Personal Assistant

Today's NaBloPoMo writing prompt is "If you had a personal assistant who would do your most dreaded tasks, which items from your to-do list would you assign out?"

Here's that list:
  1. Feed all four cats at 5:30am and refresh their water.
  2. Feed the dog and play fetch with him.
  3. Prepare for my daughter: breakfast by 6:15am; a bagged lunch by 6:45am.
  4. Put out my wife's medications for the day.
  5. Scoop the litterboxes.
  6. Prepare a bagged lunch for me.  (I'll take care of my own breakfast.)
  7. Change the dressing on my wife's wound.
  8. Make and receive all phone calls.
  9. Pick up my daughter from school at 5:45pm.
  10. Take my wife and daughter to all their appointments / functions.
  11. Teach my daughter to drive.
  12. Load the dishwasher properly.
I chose these tasks mostly because they either take place in the morning and require that I get up earlier than I'd like in order to do them myself, or they require being somewhere at a particular time or getting something done by a particular time.

My life would be so much better if I could get out of bed after dawn.  I'm sure I'd have more energy and effortlessly lose weight as a result.

I designed my career so that I could have a lifestyle in which I could ignore the clock.  I chose a lower-paying job in research, in which I could work odd hours, rather than in service, in which you'd tell someone what time you'd arrive and then actually arrive at that time*.  I never went on vacations because I hate to fly and that's because you have to follow an airline schedule.  Likewise, I never went to the movies.

As a bachelor, I hardly ever needed to pay attention to the time.  Getting married, then, was a terrible mistake for someone like me.  My wife used something called an "alarm clock" that would suddenly make a loud noise at the same very early time each morning.  This was because she'd have to drive to her work place and arrive by 8am.  She'd also need me to tell her what time I'd get home from work and then get upset when I gave my usual answer ("I dunno") or failed to show up at whatever time I guessed I could make it home by.  Then there was the insistence that we go to Church, which meant paying attention to a clock on a Sunday!

Despite this wifely imposition of time, I did pretty well.  It wasn't until the Pregnancy that things got much more difficult.  There were more doctor visits for us during those nine months than I had my whole life.  And then after the birth, we were ruled by a living, screaming, excreting life form that you wouldn't dare ignore even if you were so sick that even your eyes hurt.  This is the same life form that, 17 years later, sends you racing to a place to pick her up or drop her off at a Certain Time, lest she show up embarrassingly late for a presentation, or be tempted to walk home alone in the dark in the sleeting rain wearing flip-flops.  That's way more responsibility than I ought to have.

I'm dreaming of my old life.  My daughter will have moved out.  My wife would be dead or living in Florida with her best friend.  If I was curious enough, the alarm clock could show me the time, but it certainly wouldn't make a sound ever again.  I'd probably not bother to switch between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time.

* This is a quaint notion. Nowadays, someone in service will give you what's called a "window" which is essentially a free pass to show up at any time on a given day and still be considered punctual.


Zazzy said...

I do miss service people who come at the actual time and day they say they will. That whole "We'll be there sometime between 6am and 5pm truly torques me off. Or my personal favorite, "Sometime next week." That would truly be something that's I'd love a personal assistant to do.

The other stuff? Would probably be good but I'm still working on giving up control enough to let someone else clean the house.

Square Peg Guy said...

Wow, the "windows" I remember were like 2pm to 4pm, and then they'd call right after they finish the previous client's job.

It's a lot of work for us to prepare for someone to clean our house. We have so much clutter to move out of the way first. Usually we just have the (white) kitchen floor and bathtub cleaned. But then trying to find the cleaning products afterwards is a challenge. I've actually called a cleaner to ask where I could find one of my spray bottles.

All the best!