Making the days count

This week, you guys, this week has been full-on Crazy Town Banana Pants, in terms of my schedule. I am trying so very hard to, as they say on inspirational posters, not count the days but instead make the days count, but my goodness, I’m looking forward to my Neighbour Wine Date tomorrow afternoon (HI TARYN). Don’t wish away time, I say to myself several times a day, Live in the moment; wherever you go, there you are, and I’m even driving myself crazy with these platitudes. I am trying, though. Every morning I wake up and run through my schedule in my head, thinking of the interesting opportunities in the day to come, and endeavouring not to think “How am I going to get all this stuff done?”

Yesterday I was on a full-day field trip with the Grade Sevens, and I learned something very important: junior high field trips are much, much better to chaperone than elementary school ones. By “better” I mean “easier” since I think it’s just an insurance thing to have a certain adult-student ratio, but the adults literally do nothing at all. It was relaxing, if not particularly stimulating. However, I did learn something about sustainable agriculture and the future of farming, and I also learned that Kenya’s currency is the Kenyan shilling, should that ever come up in a Trivial Pursuit question.

The bus wasn’t even too bad; certainly it was better than the myriad elementary trips I went on. For one thing, either the group is smaller or the bus is bigger, but children were not expected to sit three to a seat, and I could sit by myself without having a random child breathing their hot breath all over me while showing me something neat in their backpack, as I work hard not to throw up. The bus driver only screamed once, which feels like a win.

And today is Robbie Burns’ Day! Every single year someone asks me if I’m going to have haggis, and this year was no exception. Well-meaning people will tell me, in the kindest and most helpful way, that there is such a thing as vegetarian haggis, but really, that only makes the idea marginally better for me. So no, I am not going to have haggis. To paraphrase Mike Myers in So I Married An Ax Murderer: In fact, I think all of Scottish cooking is based on a dare.

I also think that Scotch tastes like burning. But then, I’m only half-Scottish. A British friend was quite shocked when he found out that I drink tea without milk, and then shrugged and chalked it up to my barbaric Scottish ancestry.

So things have been busier than normal this week; I never like to complain about being busy because a) I like to be busy, and b) we’re all busy. At least, I SAY that we are all busy, but are we? This morning I was listening to the news talk radio (don’t judge) on my way back from dropping the boys at school. The station is giving away tickets to see Michelle Obama. She will be speaking to an audience of about 5000, but today, when tickets go on sale to the general public, there will be only 1000 up for grabs. Therefore, these tickets are hot. I mean, not hot as in STOLEN, but hot as in much desired.

So the station is giving away tickets, and listeners could call in for a chance to win. The first caller was a self-described huge fan of Mrs. Obama, and she was a big admirer of her role and accomplishments during her time in the White House, but in order to win a pair of tickets the caller had to be able to give the name and description of one of the four initiatives strongly backed by the former First Lady. She was clearly caught off guard and stumbled about healthy eating, but unfortunately that wasn’t specific enough to win the tickets. The second caller immediately named the Let’s Move initiative, described how it targeted childhood obesity, and won the tickets. The radio host asked if she was excited to see Michelle Obama speak, and the woman said, “Well, let’s just say I’m not a fan of Michelle Obama. I don’t really like her at all. But I’d like to hear what she has to say.”

Me, in the car:

This is when my “well, we’re all busy” theory goes up in flames. Clearly, we are not all busy. Clearly, some of us have way too much time on our hands. We all like different things. We all enjoy different people. We all have different perspectives. I don’t care one way or another what you think of Michelle Obama or any other person in the world, except perhaps if that person is the current president, and then maybe I do care what you think. The point is, why? Why, why would you spend time – an entire evening of your life – seeing someone who you do not admire in the least? Why would you spend the time, the drive in the car, the parking costs, the energy, on seeing someone you actively dislike? Not to mention why would you spend time calling into a radio station to win tickets when people who really would like those tickets are also trying to win?

“I’d like to hear what she has to say” – I have one word for you: YouTube. Or, you know, read a review in the paper.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life – Mary Oliver

We have a limited time on this earth, I think about this all the time; we really do – platitudes aside – need to make it count. What will you do with your wild and precious life? Sometimes, frankly, it feels like what I am doing with my one wild and precious life is grocery shopping, but I will tell you this: I am not spending my precious time and resources to be in the same room as someone I do not like. That happens frequently enough, involuntarily. Frankly, it’s hard enough to find time to be with people who I actively enjoy and want to spend time with.

Well, it takes all kinds, as my grandma used to say, and does it ever. Does it ever.


  1. YES to all of this. I mean, I have to spend a certain portion of my life at work, which is not 100% fulfilling every single M-F but it’s a living, and I have to spend a certain part of my life driving my children hither and yon, which is again not the best but they are doing things they like or seeing people who fill them up so fine. However, I no longer finish books that aren’t for me, listen to music I don’t like, attend non-mandated (by my employer or family) events that I don’t want to go to. I can’t imagine deliberately spending some of my limited life left at, say, a Rush concert. Bottom line: I’m never going to understand that woman and evidently she really does have too much time on her hands…

  2. Vegetarian haggis is actually quite nice, since it bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to traditional haggis other than the name. It’s like a round nut roast.

  3. When I chaperoned a 4th grade field trip, having not done it since preschool, I had the same realization. Except for a crazy loud bus trip, it was all quite calm and pleasant so I did it again in 5th grade. So far the middle school has not asked for any chaperones, except for Outdoor Ed, which Beth did.

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