Is it Thursday already? How did that happen? Where do the days go? Between doing Greek (today is Pemti,I’ve discovered) and streaming my thoughts on paper, between doing Words with Friends (just scored 96, that’ll do nicely) and the crossword, between reading and walking and sitting in the sun, there hardly seems time to do anything else.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that jobs expand to fill the time available. The average length of time spent on housework now is supposed to be the same as it was before the war, though we have many more gadgets to do it for us. Why? Because standards rise. If we’re not careful, rather than appreciating the extra, effort-free cleanliness a dishwasher can offer, we just raise our standards and tut at every speck of dirt.
It’s all down to this very natural human feature of habituation. Habituation is a great strength; it makes us infinitely adaptable. But if we’re not careful it can become an equally great weakness, causing us to take things for granted and just ‘up our game’ instead of being liberated by household gadgets.
There is a saying that if you want something done, you should ask a busy person. Why? Because they are used to being efficient, so they’ll make time to fit it in. If you ask someone who’s used to doing very little they may vastly overestimate the time it will take to do the thing and very likely not want to get off their arse, because they’re not used to managing their time. There’s a nice take on this in ‘Yes Man’ where at the beginning of the film Carl is ‘too busy’ to go out because he has an evening of uninterrupted video-watching lined up.
I’ve been there. I’ve been reluctant to go out or take phone calls and interrupt a planned evening of viewing. It’s good to be able to fill an empty day but then you can become attached to your routine and not want to go out.
I expect the Greeks have a word for that. ‘Antimetanoia’ or something; I’ll let you know when I find out. Or maybe OH will put it in a comment…