Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lenten Diary: Week One

[For an explanation, see previous post.]

Day 1: I started the engine this morning and reached to punch the radio knob like always, remembering my commitment at the last second and snatching my hand back as if the knob glowed red-hot.

I was uncomfortable with the silence before I was even out of my apartment complex. Waiting at a light, the click-clack of the turn signal was almost deafening. These next 45 days will be stretching indeed.

Day 2: Last night while traversing town I reached forward and punched preset #2—while the radio was off, mind you—as if looking for another variety of silence that would be less, well, quiet.

Day 3: So far most of my thoughts while commuting revolve around this choice. I have entertained the thought at least a dozen times already that I am crazy for having decided to do this. I’ve wondered, “Was it really conviction that prompted me to make this commitment, or just a lofty self-improvement idea I pitched to myself while feeling particularly pious?” In fact, I’ve debated this so much already that I am writing Day 3’s entry on Day 2 because I spent half the drive home composing it in my head. It’s my diary…I can cheat if I want to.

Day 4: Today my drive-time thoughts actually focused on something other than the lack of sound; however, my reactions to the silence were swapped out only to rehearse my “to do” list for the day, so I can report no great leap forward in profundity.

Day 5: During the drive to and from church today, the silence felt “proper”—like an appropriate act of reverence. I hummed the service’s closing hymn on the way home, and smiled.

Day 6: Thanks to the proliferation of campaign signs (particularly “Zaruba for Sheriff”), and to Allison for planting the connection in my head on Saturday, I had the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” playing in my head the whole drive home today (“Zaruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya…”). I grasped at other thoughts and songs to edge it out, but it was no use, and so the song ran its course, several times over (“Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go…”)

Day 7: I wonder how much I could accomplish if I spent less time drafting “to do” lists and more time just doing what needs to be done. I’m beginning to see that one of the reasons I’ve felt so stressed lately is that I’m always thinking about the next thing that needs to be done, so much so that I lose any satisfaction that might be gained from completing whatever I’m currently working on.

1 comment:

Simon said...

Susan. You're the cats pajamas. Tell my supervisor I said hi.