bunt sign

March 5, 2000

Sleeping late on Sunday morning: Good. Working all day Sunday on spreadsheets and reports: Bad. Or at least, Not Good.

The plan was to spend a couple of hours getting caught up on some of the work I've had to put off due to constant interruptions during the actual work week. That was the plan. What happened was, I found a tiny error in one part of the Big Project. Since all the worksheets are related and have to balance against each other, that tiny error translated into tiny errors all through the project.

So I spent the whole day redoing spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Some of the ones I had to do over were the very same ones I'd produced earlier in the day. Not much satisfaction in doing the same work twice in one day.

And I had to keep at it until I was sure I'd found a stopping point. If I'd left off at the wrong place, I couldn't pick it up again smoothly tomorrow. I wouldn't be able to move on, at least not without going over a whole day's work. I think I stopped at an appropriate place, barring the usual epidemic of disruption, intrusion and disturbance.

So I spent the whole day doing something that offset any benefit from sleeping in this morning. It was tedious, frustrating work, and it left me with a sore back and bleary eyes. But it's that much closer to being done, which could turn into free time somewhere down the line.

And as if it weren't enough to find myself caught up in a seemingly endless cycle of redoing spreadsheets this afternoon, I was all geared up for the spring's first televised baseball game, only to be shot down by rain in Arizona.

I'm a s l o w _ r e a d e r. That's one of the things I'd change about myself if I could. But I've tried speed reading courses and tapes, and it doesn't seem to work for me. I think I just love to savor the words too much to let any of them slip by without rolling them around in my mind. When words are put together in a felicitous turn of phrase, I'll linger on them in gratitude and admiration.

And I'm easily distracted. (What?) I was once a sound sleeper, but now the slightest change in the air will rouse me. (I thought I heard something.) At one time I could read for hours at a time and forget the real world existed. That required physical stamina as much as mental concentration. There are few times when I can lose myself in a book these days, because I always have the sense that there are other things I should be doing. (Now where was I?) So I'm rarely able to devote long periods of time to reading.

But the last hundred pages of a 700-page mystery novel are different. There's a cascade of revealed motives and uncovered clues that carry me relentlessly to the end. That's how I spent the evening, after finishing the work of the day. I soared down the slope to the end of Deception on His Mind, by Elizabeth George. Her mysteries are populated with complex characters on all sides of the law, and the stories are crafted for the maximum tension. The interest never flags, and those last few chapters of uncovered secrets have an irresistible momentum. I love finishing a book like this, as much as I hate it to end.

But now it's on to find another book savor, word for word, in unhurried pleasure.

previousbunt signemailnext

Latest recommendations:

Jon Carroll's column, March 2, Many Children Fail to Die

No on 22
Other recent recommendations can be found on the links page.