For some reason, Michael Mehta’s picture in the Flying Shingle always takes me by surprise. Not the picture itself you understand, but the timing. It has to do with the fact that when the portrait of Michael appears, smiling at me sardonically from the back page of the paper, I understand what needs to happen: I need to get my act together and write my article, which is due by the Monday after Michael’s appears.
Now why this surprises me is anyone’s guess. It’s rather like the statement I used to make to my accounting clients with just a hint of sarcasm: “I see April 30 took us by surprise again this year. Turned up unexpectedly, did it? Damn that calendar. You can always rely on it”.
So it is with Michael’s column. It’s so predictable. I could set my calendar by it. Every four weeks his column appears, rain or shine, to prod me into considering some intellectual-type topic that he’s thrusting forward. Then it serves to prod me into action. Sort of.
Only our dear editor knows that the call to action and the actual act have some distance between them, as witnessed by her obvious excitement when on one occasion I indeed acted on the prompt and submitted an article well before the deadline. I’m sorry to say that this has only happened the once.
It’s not that I’m a procrastinator, far from it. My desktop exudes “to do” lists, neatly crossed off electronically as each event is completed. I currently submit assignments, on time, for four university courses and a knitting course. Yes, you read that right, a knitting course. Only I could be accused of being so obsessed with education that I take a knitting course.
But for some reason, starting the article and finishing it requires numerous starts and finishes.
I’ve run into the same issue with designing a website. I decided I should have one. This was after my younger brother said somewhat incredulously, “For heaven’s sake, everyone has a website these days. If you want to make a living from writing, you have to have a website”.
I still don’t have one, but I made a start by contacting Victor Anthony to take some pictures of me. You see, there are very few photographs in this world, and certainly no recent ones, where I actually make a starring role. I have the most photographed dog that ever graced this earth, many of my poor deceased cat, and a few of a reluctant Leslie. But rarely am I in front of, rather than behind, the camera lens.
Victor, either by intuition or plain old good business acumen, finally emailed me with the news: “Let’s take some pictures tomorrow. The light will be good”. Note the statement, not the question. Wise man.
Now, I rank having my photo taken way up there with a visit to the dentist. I love my dentist. I must do, I’m currently seeing him every two weeks – for my teeth, she hastens to add. However, his instruments terrify me. I can grab the arm of that dentist’s chair so tight that the end pops right out like a balloon. He solves this problem by jabbing a needle into my gum. Victor wasn’t so keen on that option.
Once I get the photos, there’ll be another lapse of time before the website is designed and up and running. So if you’re anxiously awaiting notice of its arrival, make a pot of tea and pick up your own knitting, or do some gardening, or whatever else pleases you, because it will be a while.
Those university courses I told you about? I only half tell the truth when I say I get the assignments in on time. They do arrive on my professor’s desk by the due date, but only by the due date. I’m thankful that Athabasca University allows me to decide when I send my assignments in as long as they’re in by the end of my “contract date” – the online university’s equivalent of a semester.
I once wrote a mid-term and a final exam on the same day, which was the last day of the month that I could get away with it. I write the final exam for one of my French courses tomorrow, but I still have three assignments to submit. By June 30. In my final year of the degree, I’ll be taking some first year courses because they didn’t interest me enough to do them earlier.
Leslie says I’m amazing. And it’s never a good thing when he says that. He’s one of those people that when something’s got to be done, he’s the man to do it. Now. Immediately.
Not me. I’m your woman for making a list and ticking it off. Eventually.
Christine has had many lives: From tea girl in an English bank, to some sort of financial advisor to unsuspecting South African credit union members, to a traveller, kayaker, bicyclist, and designated accountant. Presently, she’s happy with the life she has: significant other to Leslie and “mother” to Minnie Bannister the dog.
Opinions expressed in this column will usually be those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Shingle.
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