Last summer, I worked a very part-time job from home. “I need to work” meant turning on last week’s episode of The Bachelor Pad OnDemand and sending stock emails to potential reviewers who didn’t know me from Adam. Occasionally I’d go to the gym, but it wasn’t likely. If I saw anyone throughout the day who wasn’t my mom or my dog, it was considered a deluge of socialization. Luckily, last summer wasn’t even very warm in the PNW, because the sun burned my eyes whenever I was forced to walk outside.
Two friends of mine were in similar positions. One was working for a grocery store only a five minute walk from her house. The other wasn’t working for the summer due to several large family vacations.
For the record, all three of us are very professional. We’ve excelled in many jobs, received promotions, won elections, given presentations, and basically saved the world in our spare time. Last summer, the world had to be saved by somebody else.
“Just so you know,” often read my texts to one or both of them, “I’m not sure if I put on deodorant this morning.”
“That’s ok,” would come the reply. “I’m going for a run before you come over and I’m not planning on showering before you get here.”
(Note: Not once did the run ever happen.)
We recognized that this carefree slash lazy attitude was a privilege granted to us for only a few short months. We took full advantage of it, developing a sophisticated strategy of determining our specific needs for the day and keeping all unnecessary activity to a minimum. With two weeks of vacation in front of me, I have resurrected our old plan.
It begins at the beginning, when I wake up in the morning. What time do I have to be anywhere today? How long will it take me to get ready before that? And, can I cut that time down in any way, shape, or form?
Breakfast requires one two-minute session with the microwave to make some tea. Other than that, there are three choices: toast with peanut butter, which necessitates actually using and supervising the toaster to make sure that the toast is just right; cereal, perhaps with some fruit, which requires pouring milk into a bowl and sometimes even using a knife to actually cut the fruit; or, best case scenario, leftovers.
After that comes the “getting ready” portion of the day. Sometimes, there are several hours between actually eating breakfast and determining that the day has started. These things can’t be rushed, you know.
I check the mirror to see how greasy my hair has become in the past 24 hours. What level of sophistication will I be facing today? Any place fancier than Target or the grocery store? If not, the shower only occurs if I’m bored.
In the shower gets more complicated. Shampoo, conditioner, and faewash will happen…after several minutes of contemplating the universe in intense silence, the water washing away the stains of the sins of my fathers, renewing my spirit in a baptismal rememberance and refreshing my attitude as I stand in deep consternation over the ills of the world and how my life might change them for the better. Or I’m just singing a really bad version of “Call Me Maybe.”
But the rest of the shower is negotiable. What are the chances that someone will be looking at my legs today? And one step further: What are the chances that someone will be touching my legs today? (The answer to the second question is always 0%. Except me. I don’t know how that changes the percentage because I never took Stats, but it’s still not very high.) Will I be wearing a tank top today? If yes, is there any chance that my arms will be lifted for more than two seconds in the company of other human beings? Clearly, all of this negotiation is a waste of time. I’m not going to be shaving my legs or underarms on this day. It takes far too much effort.
Hair dryers get really hot. They require standing in the humid bathroom for an extra fifteen minutes. With my hands above my head the whole time. Granted, that pretty much takes care of the workout for the day. (Arm strength? Check.) But it’s still a lot of work early in the morning– like 11. I can brush my hair and put it in the white-girl-bun and give off the “you can’t tell if I’m doing the walk of shame or if I have seven kids at home who all came down with an intestinal virus and I’ve been cleaning up puke for three days” vibe.
And forget makeup. It doesn’t even deserve a thought. Unless we’re going to Red Robin for dinner that night. There’s a waiter there who speaks with a British accent, and he’s actually pretty decent looking. The accent kicks it all up a notch, and I wouldn’t want him to see me like this. Without makeup, that is. The rest of it is just his bad luck.
Don’t get me started on putting away the laundry.
No really. Don’t get me started. It’s just going to sit there where I can dig through it. What do I look like, my own maid?