Friday, September 25, 2009

The Lesson

I've been pushing it, trying to fit about 32 hours of preoccupation into each 24-hour day.

And I knew I was pushing it, but also knew from past experience that while pushing it makes me grumpy, I can usually pull it off.

So right now I have teaching, editor in chief day job, and a freelance job. I do these things for money the love of it. In addition, I try to fit in a little socializing, a little yoga, and interesting New York-like events.

Writing isn't even in the cards at the moment. (You don't have to tell me how wrong this is.)

When I looked at how tightly I'd scheduled this week, I wondered if I'd shoved in a bit too much.

First, there's work. Then there's teaching, which happens on Tuesday afternoons. I also have a trade paperback that I'm trying to get out for the freelance gig. And I didn't want to miss the $10 seat to the one-woman Carrie Fisher show, the free ticket to see Rosanne Cash perform at WNYC, the screening of the movie The Age of Stupid on Monday night, a bookstore event I wanted to attend, a fabric-shopping meetup, a pal's art opening, brunch with a friend, and a Sunday night performance art thing with a friend visiting from where she works (Iraq).

And on Thursday night, I had a ticket to Ellis Island for its first-ever night tour. Then tonight, I have a ticket for the inaugural Liberty Island night tour.

All week, I teetered close to the brink of exploding at people I normally tolerate okay, and was short and snappish at my colleagues. I cut deadlines close, nearly arrived late. Did arrive late.

Then last night, I blew it. I was dilly-dallying when I was supposed to be racing to Liberty State Park to get on the Ellis Island ferry. Since I was late, I thought I'd catch the commuter ferry that goes straight to the park.

Except it doesn't anymore. It probably hasn't in years. I last took it in 2006. I ended up on the other side of the canal from the Ellis Island ferry, barely any distance aside from that stretch of water in-between.

I started walking briskly. I thought about asking one of the Wall Street guys for a lift, but didn't have the nerve. They all get on the ferry in downtown Manhattan, then get into their cars at the parking lot across from Liberty State Park.

I hoofed it up to the pedestrian bridge at the western end of the park, crossed behind the scrap metal yard, then raced down towards the ferry by the old railroad terminal.

I watched the ferry pull away from about 40 feet off.

Exhausted, I collapsed on a bench. I pulled out my $29 ticket and thought about crying but was too tired. I couldn't bear to walk home. Isn't there a bus that goes here?

After sitting still for a while, I moved to the bus stop bench. I answered some e-mails and rested. A bus showed up! It took me to the Light Rail, which took me home.

And as I rode the train, I thought to myself: This was a warning. You need to quit screwing around and control your schedule better. Nip the unwanted distractions in the bud. Focus, Marie, focus...

I will. I'll go cancel tomorrow's plans right now.

1 comment:

Linda said...

There are so many ways to procrastinate and some of them pay money. Months go by, years go by... maybe you need to find a new goal instead of writing a book. Maybe it should be something uncomfortable. Then you could write as a way of procrastinating!