June 25th, 2001


Priorities... a ramble

It's catalog-addressing day. I have a sneaking suspicion that I should take care of catalog requests every day, but I don't always have the energy. Or other things have priority, like destroying Jake at backgammon. (Or being destroyed, which happens just as often!)

I tackle the internet requests first; they're the most complicated. You'd be surprised how many people sign up for email lists without leaving their email addresses!

Life is a whole series of priorities. Our life is shaped around the highest priorities: food and sleep. A drive to reproduce. Pleasures of the flesh. The need to self-explore. Paying the bills. Cleaning the kitchen. They all get ranked in terms of priority. What we get done in a day is centered around our priorities. Poorly thought-out or ill-realized priorities lead to watching television all day long.

Unfortunately, even consciously meant priorities aren't always right. Paying bills generally gets higher priority than making meaningful connections with other people. It's sad, really, that perceived security is more valuable than human interaction.

I have to get an envelope for a foreign catalog request; anything going outside of the US has to be enclosed, not just stapled shut like I usually send catalogs. That was a painful lesson; getting a catalog with a couple of buck of postage on it back in my mailbox. At that point, a few bucks was a significant portion of my capital. So you can guess that I didn't make that mistake again!

I'm not very good at human contact, myself. Don't get me wrong, I get along with people wonderfully, but I'm terrible at maintaining ties and reaching out. I can never seem to call people unsolicited, or follow up on anything. If I don't respond to something at once, it's an uphill battle to make myself do it later.

I get lazy, really. If I'm not obliged to do anything (rare enough), I generally art (which is a verb, yes), or watch the mind-numbing television, or browse the internet. My first thought is not to pick up the phone and call a friend over to share some time. Too much effort, my selfish self claims. It's not a priority.

Next are the snail mail catalog requests. Some of them take some deciphering; people use strange versions of cursive and letters so bubbly that they blend together. One name in particular stumps me, and I spend some time trying to make letters out of loops and wiggles.

As I put the stamps on and staple in the order forms, my mind is a thousand miles away, trying to remind myself to bring a blank mousepad into town with me, and to make my lunch for the following day, and throw away the mysterious food in the discolored container in the back of the fridge. And tomorrow's laundry day, so I've got to get my clothes packed into the car. And I've got to buy more letter-sized heavyweight matte paper. And I'm concerned by the noises that my computer is making. And the dishes still haven't been done, and the shower needs scrubbed and I'll be in Circle Hot Springs next weekend, so I have to make sure I get all the orders out by then. I look down and find that all of the catalogs are finished, a neat pile in my lap. One task down, seventeen more to go. And all of them seem to scream: priority!
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