Friday, November 20, 2009


By Elliott Joseph

Copyright 2009 Elliott Joseph

December 2009

Actually, I like the daily routine. It frees me up, leaves my mind clear.

I don't wake up too early. I wash my face, brush my teeth, of course. Because deodorant irritates my skin, I shower or simply wipe under my arms with a damp cloth, which keeps me fresh throughout the day and evening. Never a complaint. There's also shaving the cheeks and trimming the beard, whether I'm going out or not.
Breakfast is my responsibility. My wife does dinner and doesn't eat lunch. The night before, I plan the breakfast and my midday meal. I use the pages of a 3x5" pad for this, as well as for my to do list for the day, after checking the calendar. I don't trust my memory any more.

Then there's the day. The morning stretching and exercises. The pills to take, the mail, the computer, the newspaper, shopping for food and supplies, maintenance.

If there are chores, like taking out the garbage, dusting or vacuuming, they get worked in somehow. I'm not rigid about them. After a while they get assertive. Once a week there's the laundry. We have machines in the garage. I make sure I have enough quarters. That's another thing that gets on my list. I get four rolls at a time, so I have a cushion.

There's the doctor and the dentist to schedule.

So you ask, don't I ever do anything important? I do. I do. I am a writer, and there is always a project, projects, I should say. Some writers, some artists, sacrifice their daily life, even their family life, for their art. Perhaps my talent, such as it is, isn't worth the sacrifice. Is that small of me?

Maybe I could have done more. Would that make a difference?

Certainly, if my work brought the world to a better place. Health care for those not covered, help for the homeless, the economy, peace, a light that opens the way for the lives of others. Those might be reasons to let the house and its occupants fall apart -- for the greater good.

What does quotidian mean anyway? "Occurring every day. Commonplace. Ordinary."

I don't do everything every day, but I guess I'm programmed, though a bit of delay now and then doesn't hurt. Do I leave time for serendipity? There's movies, theater, lectures, books, music, museums, gardening, recreation, friends, family, and my work of course.

Get maid service to do the quotidian? That's an option, I suppose, but who'd pay the bills, balance the checkbook, manage the credit card statements, get gas, wash the car? Maybe someday when we can't turn the mattress. It's getting heavy, but so far we can manage. My wife has her photography, and is able to do her quotidian part, more than her part, in fact.

I'll bet there are a lot of people for whom the quotidian isn't so bad. Those folks don't want to let their home life disintegrate. I don't think it's compulsiveness. For me it's just a welcome sense of control that gives me tranquility, some shielding from an otherwise chaotic, alarming world. I do wonder sometimes, though, about those people who just let things go.

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