I was staring at my hands before I started typing. Staring at them and thinking of something to write, or at least begin writing about what I have been thinking about lately. My fingers are stained with oil and grease. I have scrubbed them, but it will not come off. My knuckle is sore, a half inch scrape accompanied by a bruised bone. My left knee has been feeling sore all day, and I am not sure what caused that yesterday. The hands are the result of working for too many hours on the truck yesterday. They also smell of Big Red, Tilly, oil, avgas, blood and sweat. For a Sunday evening, I feel physically drained and bone tired, yet mentally awake and already thinking about the next weekend and its long list of duties to accomplish. I am sitting here, writing another eight hundred words instead of being a vegetable in front of the television. Why? Because of guilt, that’s why.
It is probably a good thing I am not Catholic. I would spend a lot of time confessing to a laundry list of guilt. One thing is true, what it all boils down to is that there are far too many things I want to do, should do. Perhaps there are not enough hours in the day or maybe I’m simply not quick enough to accomplish fast enough to move to the next task on time. But, I do take my own advice from now and then. Some days you just have to give in and just be. Last weekend, as some may have noticed, I did not write an eight hundred words. The reason? I was mind numb from having stayed up to one in the morning on Saturday night hosting with my wife a lovely party with good friends. So instead of being an adult come Sunday, we sat on our arse’s all day and put sloth’s to shame for our distinctive slowness when we tried to do anything at all.
Therefore, all week, while being a productive “Director of This and That” I secretly was feeling guilty that I did not write. I was feeling guilty that I did not run errands, change the filters in the air conditioner, get groceries for the week, clean my car. I felt guilty for sitting on my butt. It is strange that we seek to be relaxed and take it easy, yet when you actually stop and smell the weeds along side of the road, guilt can slide in like a slow puncture to your tire.
Many year’s ago, during one of our pilgrimages to Oz, my wife and I took our rental car and headed from Hahndorf, South Australia to Aldinga Airfield. That was our mission that day, to visit our good friends at the airfield and let Sam fly in the Tiger Moth over Selleck’s Beach. She loved every second she was airborne, and I shall never forget the smile when she landed. I was able to get some air time in a Super Cub, cruising low over the coastal waters and rising hills. After, we headed down to the beach where you can still drive your car on the sand, and if the coppers aren’t watching, maybe slide the tires in the sand. After all, it’s a rental, so drive it like you stole it.
While we sat on the beach, very sparsely occupied, feeling the warm Australian sun, we went from wading in the water to just diving in. But what made this most fun of all, was that we didn’t pack bathers or thought ahead to bring a towel. No, we dropped our fully clothed bodies into the cool water singing, “Don’t Care!” and letting the waves wash over us. It was refreshing, remarkable, and so very memorable. After this day, singing, “Don’t Care!” became a way for us to release stress, release the guilt, and just have fun together.
I am fairly sure that last Sunday we both shouted “Don’t Care!” more than once as we looked out the windows and saw chores piling up in the yard, or opening the fridge and finding little to eat except for leftovers from the night before. We let ourselves be free, just the two of us with the dogs, hidden from the world for a day.
Unfortunately, I woke on Monday morning feeling guilty and it wasn’t for not doing chores, but for not writing. So here, I make up for it, two columns in one weekend. And this weekend, we both made up for our lethargy. Chores are done. Food is bought. Tilly has been fixed. Big Red has been flown. Bills have been paid and mailed. Errands were run, yet fun was still had.
As for my greasy hands? Well . . . “Don’t Care!”