It’s been really ugly around here. I haven’t wanted to include tales of woe and carnage in this blog, but I can compartmentalize no more. I must announce that this very day an attempted coup inside my brain has been peaceably put down. Silently and insidiously, possibly for months, my left brain self, a nerdy middle manager with an extensive collection of pocket protectors, has been co opting the machinery of my right brain. Misled by injections of cortisol, my right brain leader, goddess, and protector of magpies routed untold amounts of energy bound for cooking, writing, sewing, drawing, and countless other creative and enjoyable endeavors into an endless examination of minutiae.
It’s been awful! Here is how the maniacal manager took hold. About a year ago, my husband and I bought a small condo in a cool part of town. The object was to have a simple pied a terre for when we wanted to go to the theater, eat out, or just get away. The price was oh, so right, so we bought it, and Voila! We had our little getaway spot. Well, not exactly. It needed a little cosmetic work. The cheap laminate floor was buckled; it would have to go. The walls needed painting, and the crown molding appeared to an upside down baseboard, a construction trick I would probably have tried myself. The kitchen wallpaper was hideous.
We may have just made the above simple changes if I hadn’t realized after closing that THE TOILET WAS YELLOW!!! So the toilet water would always look YELLOW!!!! I could not accept a color scheme with yellow water. And yes, before we knew it we were deciding to basically gut the entire condo. We required the excellent services of Bubba S., renowned contractor, who guided us patiently through months of destruction and construction. We were not able to put a bed in the unit until June 2013, ten months after we bought the condo. Progress was sometimes slow, but since we didn’t live in the unit, it was not as arduous for us as it could have been.
The condo is now transformed, and I promise to do some posts about it later, but for now we must focus on the rebellion. During the long months of waiting to be able to use the condo, my left brain was busy fomenting dissatisfaction. Along my nerve synapses, it was sending messages such as , ” You’ll never be able to use that condo.” “We’ve been waiting for a year.” “We could have gone to the condo this weekend.” (Yes we did sleep there some on a blowup mattress, but it’s so uncomfortable.) Thanks to all that left brain agitation, as soon as we were able to put a bed in the unit, I felt a great pressure to get the place furnished instantly. Instantly.
It sounds easy to just furnish a one bedroom apartment, right? Wrong! First, we decided to take our current queen sized bed to the condo and buy ourselves a new king sized bed for the house. So now my old bed is at the condo, and I don’t have one here yet. Because my bedroom here needed painting. So I had to pick paint. But I couldn’t pick paint until I picked out a duvet cover. “Just try harder,” the left brain urged as I scoured every single internet source for duvet covers. The situation again made fertile ground for the opposition. I ‘ve slept upstairs in a guest room for a month, my clothes are all stuffed in hefty bags, and I only know the whereabouts of one pair of earrings, because they happened to be in my purse. Yes, my brain cells were becoming attuned to the directive voice suggesting I just needed to get organized around here, to make some choices, to get something accomplished.
At the same time, I needed condo furniture. I wanted a midcentury modern look. In my imagination I could see a snazzy living room with a hi fi set, a vintage bar, a clean-lined buffet, groovy accessories, and Don Draper sipping a martini in the corner. But the reality is that that stuff can be hard to find. Many extremely cool items are either quite expensive or only available for local delivery. I know this because I have also searched every single possible outlet for these items regardless of my need for sleep and moisture for my bloodshot eyes. And I told all this to my left brain but he made me keep looking. Finally I found a dining room table and chairs on Ebay.
I had never bid on anything before, and I think dining room furniture is a pretty formidable first choice for a beginner. But again, my left brain informed me it was an emergency. I persevered.
I woke up early one morning last week, and when I closed my eyes to go back to sleep, all I could see was an Ebay page scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. I had lost touch with the idea that nothing at all would happen if I disregarded the voice of the left brain. I wanted to take pictures of my flowers and make pesto, but robotically I continued to focus on decisions for the condo. I was unhappy and I knew it. But I couldn’t stop. What was going to become of me? Would I wake one morning devoid of all humanity, but an expert on item numbers, bids, costs and measurements?
Last night I had a dream that a former roommate of mine in college was giving a talk on how she was tired of being materialistic and what a dangerous practice it was. I really think that was the moment when the right side began to feel some reinforcements from some unknown place within. I woke up this morning and knew I had been delivered from the jaws of an endless future of “human doingness” instead of “human beingness.” That is what the left brain side wanted of me. But I will not comply.
Furnishing the condo was never something to be finished, just something to be enjoyed at my own pace. I will order a couch and chair for the living room , and my new king sized bed this week. And that will be all. Becoming so thing and object oriented is not who I am. I don’t need spectacular surroundings to feel relaxed and happy at the condo; I just need peace.
Right now the right brain leader, goddess, and protector of magpies is having a talk with the left brain manager, thanking him for all his hard work. He will surely be needed for duties in the future. ( She catches more flies with honey.) The neurotransmitters he controlled are being quietly disconnected. He must be tired, she murmurs, as she motions to her minions to make him comfortable in some remote location of the brain. He IS tired, he realizes, as he listens to the hypnotic tones of her voice. And it feels so good for him to rest right here. Silly manager, he thinks as he drifts off to sleep; a coup would never have worked in a place like this.