Your procrastination station…

It’s Saturday (always a good thing) and I’m a right mess (not such a good thing).  I seem to have reached an impasse.  It’s an impasse of my own making to be sure, but one that is messing up the day’s schedule in a big way.

It started last night.  The existential angst and attempts to overcome said existential angst over the course of the week wiped me out emotionally and physically.  Enough so that I took an unplanned nap on the couch.  For two and a half hours.  When I woke up- at 1 in the AM- I had no idea what day it was or how long I’d been asleep.  It was that kind of nap.  Felt like I’d slept for days/weeks/years.

All good- since I obviously needed the snooze- but making like Rip Van Winkle (Washington Irving has popped up on the radar a couple of times lately) so early meant that sleep- never a sure thing for me anyway- wasn’t about to make a return visit anytime soon.

I half-heartedly filled some boxes and sorted through some more papers (the shredder will be busy- I really have to cut down on the paper consumption.  I really do like and appreciate trees.  Not that you’d know it what with the amount of recycling that’s been leaving the house lately) but really didn’t accomplish much to speak of.

The claustrophobia and chaos-induced anxiety is starting to build as the number of boxes increases.  I’ve made good headway– well over halfway done with a couple of weeks to go- but today I hit the wall.

Partly because I’m running on fumes and coffee, sure.  But, being honest, it’s mainly because, when my reserves get low, I tap into my Master’s degree in procrastination.  It’s really not tooting my horn to insist that I’m veryvery good at it.  Procrastinating, I mean.

You would think that as the number of things to pack decreases it would be easier to figure out where to start.  Nope.

I managed to get some flattened pieces of cardboard made into actual boxes (which, since they haven’t been filled with anything, have become playgrounds for my feline roommates), some research done for a freelance article I’m working on and… well.  Nothing else really.  Not enough to put any kind of dent in the to-do list.  Which is growing longer by the day.

The enthusiasm lagged early in the day.  I took a walk down to the local Tim Hortons for a doughnut (not for the coffee.  NEVER for the coffee.  Unlike most of the rest of my fellow-citizens, I find their coffee undrinkable except in the most desperate of circumstances.  And I have good coffee in my house.  But the doughnuts are worth the walk when one is jonesin’ for something to rein in the sweet tooth) thinking the sugar rush from a Canadian Maple might get the motor running.

It’s like a Boston cream but with maple flavoured icing.  Mmmm.

Haven’t gone back to the packing.  But I do have a touch of a sugar-induced headache.

(I just Googled ‘doughnut’ to find out something about the etymology of the word- my procrastination knows no bounds today- and found THIS on the Wikipedia: The earliest known recorded usage of the term dates to an 1808 short story describing a spread of “fire-cakes and dough-nuts.” WASHINGTON IRVING’S  (emphasis most DEFINITELY mine) reference to “doughnuts” in 1809 in his History of New York is more commonly cited as the first written recording of the term. Irving described “balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks.”These “nuts” of fried dough might now be called doughnut holes. Doughnut is the more traditional spelling, and still dominates outside the US.  At present, doughnut and the shortened form donut are both pervasive in American English.”  AGAIN with the Washington Irving!)

Anyhoo.  Weird coinkidinks (or examples of synchronicity) aside…

The television is also seemingly conspiring to ensure that I get nothing of substance accomplished.  There’s a free preview going on right now of one of those channels that plays shows from back in the day.  All of these are shows that I’ve seen before, of course.  But somehow checking in with Archie and Edith, Jack, Janet and Chrissy, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia, Klinger, Radar, Hawkeye and BJ, and etc. has become more of a priority than packing or being otherwise productive.

And the day ticks on by…

It really is astounding, just how time is fleeting… (‘Hey Riff- show us your mother!’)

In addition to being one of the key tunes from the brilliant and cutting edge cult classic Rocky Horror (Picture) Show, a time warp is ‘a hypothetical discontinuity or distortion occurring in the flow of time that would move events from one time period to another or suspend the passage of time.’

(Richard O’Brien’s 1975 film of his musical stage play (first presented in 1973) is a loving tribute to horror films and B movies (there are direct echoes of the awesomely bad 1964 Lon Chaney, Jr. film, Spider Baby, for example).  The film plays with the concepts of space and time- and nostalgia for the heyday of films and fashion.  It has become a source of nostalgia itself- between the midnight showings in old-timey theatres (those that remain in this age of multiplexes) and stage revivals- there’s one going on here in town right now- it remains an enduring piece of cinematic wonder.  And relative innocence, even if the subject matter was somewhat risqué when it first appeared.

While I’ve never seen an interview in which he admits to it, Richard O’Brien HAS to have had some exposure to either gnostic mythology or Jungian uses of gnostic and dualistic archetypes and mythemes.  I’ve actually used the film in classes as an illustration of gnostic language as used in popular culture.  Frank is certainly a demiurge, seeking to out-create the ineffable originator of the universe… This derailment of the train of thought- further evidence of today’s masterful procrastination- has gone on long enough but brings to light a topic that might require some revisiting.  Perhaps in a Hallowe’en post?)

Getting back on track… time is something we often take for granted- and I am frequently guilty of squandering it when I can least afford to do so.  Suspending the passage of time- while not currently possible (as far as I know, anyway) is an attractive potentiality.

The movement of events from one time period to another is a popular device used in storytelling- to illustrate differences in mores and highlight developments in technology and the like.  For example, Sleepy Hollow, that new tv show I’ve mentioned a time or two, uses the time warp- to bring Ichabod into the 21st century, and to allow him to communicate with his wife and draw upon the information she has about the Horseman.

We would love to think we have some control over time, but short of actually using our time effectively rather than making excuses and finding other things that will eat into the time we have, there really isn’t anything we can do to in any way affect its passage.

But as the sun goes down on Toronto this evening, the city will make a good fist of playing with the way we generally structure time.

Once a year, Nuit Blanche lights up the town.  Office buildings, museums, hidden subway stations, gardens and usually busy streetscapes play host to art and light installations from sunset to sunrise.  People who wouldn’t normally venture out for late nights can be found down darkened alleys watching tennis games, or ducking the searchlights of helicopters flying low over courtyards between buildings in the financial heart of the core.

‘Night’ is remade, and experiences that are generally confined to regular business hours are let out of their framework as the dark becomes the background for people to come together.  Children are allowed up loooong past normal bedtimes, night owls are in their element, and morning people set their alarms even earlier to catch the last few hours of the displays before the sun comes up.

If I’m going to procrastinate, Nuit Blanche is a pretty good place to do so.  It’s kind of like a time warp.  Once a year the distortion of the normal flow of events transforms our downtown and reinforces the reality that time is a construct.  A necessary construct but one that we can play with and seem to suspend for a little while.

Best get moving so I can join my fellow Torontonians as we head out into the night and ‘do the Time Warp again.’