bunt sign

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

If I could only break my bad habits as easily as I break the good ones, I'd be one well-adjusted person. I'd be a lot slimmer, too.

For a long time after I moved here, I was getting to bed at the same time every night. I've always hated going to bed, because I just didn't like the idea of being immobile and incoherent while I still had the energy to do something. It didn't matter that I didn't really do anything during the wee hours, other than watching old movies or leafing through the newspaper.

That was the best part, that I could do something that didn't require a much higher level of consciousness than sleeping, and yet not experience the guilt I'd feel if I did it during the day.

I've never been able to go to bed early two nights in a row. My body seems to be on a 26-hour cycle, as if I'm from a planet that spins a little more slowly than this one. If I went to bed at 10:00 one night, I might be so wired the next night that I'd have to stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. But this seemed to change after I moved here. For awhile I was getting to bed around midnight, night after night.

That good habit is now history. For the last few nights I've been up later and later. I'm sure at some point I'll come down for a hard landing and have to catch up on sleep. I don't know when I'll get back on a schedule that has me waking up refreshed and ready to go every morning.

It's more likely that I'll have to go back to taking afternoon naps, especially after an ordeal like last night, when everything from a nose bleed to a screeching cat outside the window kept me from sleeping soundly.

For awhile there, I was eating well, too, but that good habit has evaporated in a sea of chips. And Oreos. And muffins and pudding and ice cream. Where's all that discipline now? I've been a compulsive consumer lately, and it's not a pretty sight. Neither am I, to tell the truth.

I've also been spending more time watching TV than reading these last few nights, but I think that might be because of the book I started. I realized too late that I've read it before, but now I don't want to stop. Still, I don't really want to keep going, either, so it's easier to lie around and flip through all those channels.

I started to wonder last night how many times I could watch each episode of The Sopranos, if I wanted to. I can't get enough of the look on Lorraine Bracco's face at the end of this week's show. I also like the end of 10 Things I Hate About You, and the first half of The Mighty, both of which I watched for the third or fifth or tenth time last night.

It's a whole lot easier to know what I should be doing than to do it. Lately I've lacked whatever incentive it takes to do the right thing for myself. I had it and lost it and I'm not sure what it'll take to find it again. Guilt, maybe? I'm good at that.

I'm making up for all the overachieving I did in school. I'm certainly not living up to my potential now.

To make up for an unproductive day, I did some cleaning last night. I vacuumed, for the first time in ages. I don't do it more often because it's no use. The white carpet doesn't look any less grimy than it did before, but at least I have a sense of achievement. Or at least a sense of having given it my best shot. Or at any rate, a sense of going through the motions so that I can say I did it.

While I was in the mood and before I could change my mind, I went through the papers on my table and tossed almost every one that wasn't an unpaid bill or a note from an insurance company. I'm a packrat, and I have to be in one of these frenzies before I'll throw things like this away. And I have to do it fast, before the mood passes. So out went the used theater tickets, and the coupon packs with the cheap lube jobs and haircuts and pizzas, and the letters from charities and political groups asking for yet more money.

My ambition did not extend as far as cleaning the bathroom, which is in a sorry state, but I did do up the dishes in the sink. (That would be the kitchen sink, in case you thought I was still in the bathroom.) I didn't want to start a load of laundry, in case the power went out, so with that modest list of accomplishments, I began my evening of compulsive eating and mindless TV watching.

Every time I pull up a weed, two more grow somewhere else.


Gardening is like an arcade game.

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