A Little Old Lady (my Mom) lived here. Years before she died, the 12-foot vertical blinds started to shed slats. She stopped opening the blinds because as soon as she did so, another slat (or two or three) would fall down. And my parents dutifully left the fallen slats in a neat pile at the bottom of the windows so that my brother, who promised he would reinstall them, would know which slats went where.
This went on for a couple of decades.
The last time I visited Dad, I decided it was time to take care of the blinds. More slats had fallen since Mom died 3 1/2 years ago, to the point that the HOA cited Dad for having gaps in the blinds clearly visible from the street. I brought curtain panels that DH’s Mom had made for our first house 25 years ago, figuring that those curtains could not possibly look any worse than gap-toothed vertical blinds. DH and I installed the red-and-yellow floral curtains first — and not a moment too soon. A few more slats fell and then the blinds refused to slide at all, but luckily they stalled on either side of the curtains so that it all looks intentional.
Feeling inspired, we tackled the other set of windows. Until a week ago, the windows at the right had the green-and-pink curtains only on the bottom, while the top had two large pieces of cardboard. Yup, cardboard. For FIFTEEN YEARS sort of cardboard. I always thought it strange that my OCD mother did not make curtains for both windows.
I found the two brand-new curtain panels in her linen closet: she had indeed made enough curtains, but didn’t hang them at the top.
Well, of course Mom did not put them up — she needed my brother to do that for her. And he procrastinated, and procrastinated, and at some point, my mother gave up. She lived with the cardboard for all those years because my brother could not spare 15 minutes out of his day. The “deferred maintenance” list grows every time I visit: the non-existent weather-stripping on the patio door, the leaky shower head, the leaky tub faucet, the toilet that no longer flushes, the bathroom sink that does not drain, the washer tub that fills between use, the kitchen faucet broken since last summer. Dad doesn’t live there any more, but I know Mom knows about the list. And the slats continue to fall.
What is procrastination? It is one way of saying “fuck you” to the world: my time is more important than you. Not just your time, or your needs, but YOU the person.
I am due for another visit in October, and I bought TWO return tickets. One for a return in 2 weeks, the other for a return in 3 days . . . . because if the kitchen faucet still isn’t fixed (it has been a year since I pointed it out to my brother, and the only other sink downstairs is the one that does not drain), I really was going to go home early. I’ll be damned if I am going to keep listening to Mom complaining.