Hafta Convenience

Dear J-

If you regard Twitter as a generic text message to folks, then the origins make sense: rather than type the same thing over and over, send once and done. So likewise, perhaps the blog is the equivalent of those dreaded Christmas letters that have taken the place of/supplanted personalized messages in cards. Convenience enables us to spend more time on the things we enjoy, rather than the supposed-tos; otherwise we’d all take the bus, wash our clothes by hand, and never eat out. We’re as guilty as anyone — we spend a few hours putting together a photo card for Christmas and then the real work is getting addresses together (hey, maybe if we had a printer that could take labels and a database of contacts …)

I have faced long bouts of unemployment, mostly voluntary as it seems now: once after graduation for ten months, and once after moving to San Diego for twelve more. There were three constants in those situations: one, going to the library to look for jobs online; two, taking tours of the local thrift shops; and three, playing videogames in the afternoon to kill time until dinner. There are tangible reminders of those days still (the junk closet that’s filled with old electronics and games), but the strongest one is this: my mother-in-law asking me, with increasing exasperation, what the hell I was doing that took so long to find a job. And all I had to pull out at that time was convenience: who had time when I had to … thrift … and play games … and … I got it at that point.

You don’t have to make the have-to-dos into odious, onerous tasks. I do a great job at building things up in my mind into impassable barriers, but really, how much would it cost me for some personal emails or phone calls to keep in touch? It’s not the cost of the time that’s often the issue: if the rewards are worth it, then why isn’t that motivation enough? I like to point out how foolish it is that, say, bosses don’t hand out bigger raises or praise — the cost of keeping your folks happy is far smaller than having to train new ones to replace the ones you drove out. Point taken; thanks, voice-in-the-head.



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