Today, I have been fully successful at being unsuccessful at absolutely anything. Following a two-day Oktoberfest Chattanooga Market, I am simply useless, unable to accomplish a single task: house cleaning, book work, freelance writing—all of it sits untouched, like the lunch dishes yet on the dining table. I’ve been twice, thus far, to the Starbuck’s atop Lookout Mountain. I enjoyed apple pie for breakfast and again post-lunch. And I have played more than one round of Jelly Car on my iPhone.
Needless to say, the sun room is adorned with dog-hair tumbleweeds (oh, yes, I was also supposed to brush the dogs); the recycling may soon collapse in on itself implosion-style; and I will surely resort to bottom-of-the barrel underwear (tie-dye) tomorrow morning. What’s more, and this is simply inexcusable, I have tons of yet-salvageable basil waiting to be made into pesto. There is a chance of a first frost tonight, but still I sit by the fire indulging my lethargy.
Here’s the thing: the anxiety of uselessness builds on itself. I’m now not only not accomplishing anything, but I’m also spending so much time lamenting my inactivity, that, at 3:17 p.m., it’s as if I’ve exhausted all possibility of redeeming myself.
There is a bright spot in the day, however: someone else’s cooking. Though I generally love cooking in any form (talking about cooking, reading about cooking, writing about cooking, cooking itself), there are times when it’s nice to have something prepared for me—something which I won’t have to analyze for its book-worthiness. There are no notes to be taken, no precise measurements, just a little silver tray in the fridge bearing meatloaf, potatoes, and steamed carrots courtesy of my in-laws. They will need to be warmed, of course—twenty minutes or so in the oven. But they’ll be no mincing, no mixing. The flavors will be a surprise (I haven’t paired them after all); the dishes will be minimal; and I will end my day in the perfect do-nothing style in which I began.