It's been a strange day.
My daily horoscope asked me when my life became a Tarantino movie. Apart from the fact that a horoscope is supposed to tell me stuff, not vice versa, the first image that popped into my head was Uma Thurman snorting heroin, thinking it was coke, and passing out with blood pouring from every orifice. It wasn't that kind of day.
It was the kind of day when everything moves in slow-mo. I went for a run, for example, that took 10 minutes longer than usual, for no discernible reason. The cats took their time turning up for breakfast. A travel agent said she'd ring me back in a few minutes, and I ended up tracking her down through the 0800 number after 40 minutes, because I was waiting to make more phone calls. My computer was so slow that I'd already booked accommodation (by emailing the property) for the funeral we're going to in Taupo next week by the time I got through to the price comparison website, where I discovered I could have saved $50.
By 4.30, when I usually turn on the telly and watch Buffy (Channel 16, The Zone) while I cook dinner, I was exhausted. After dinner we watched 'Puss in Boots', recorded late last year, and I could barely stay awake. Which means that when I do eventually go to bed (soon) I'll probably be wide awake for the first hour, then I'll come back downstairs, make a cup of Sleepy Tea, and read my new 'Green Ideas' which came in the mail today. I don't think I've read the last one yet. Not even sure where it is.
And this is retirement. Or would be, if I could just tell the rest of the Poetry Society committee that I don't want to do it any more, thank you. Someone asked me today who it is that keeps drawing me back in. I think that's obvious. It's me. I've been telling everyone (except the committee) for the last 14 months that I don't want to do it any more, and yet I'm still at it. Answering emails, reconciling the Xero account, processing the snail mail.
I get lots of amazing feedback from people who thank me for all I do for poetry, but that's not why I keep doing it. I don't get paid, so it's not that either. I've already promised various people (other than the committee) that I'd stop on specific dates. So far it's been November 2013, August 2014 and November 2014. I could try that again, but it's not really working, and we all know the definition of madness.
So here's what it is: shame.There are lot of undone things that I would be leaving behind for someone else to sort out if I simply stopped, as I keep meaning to do. I haven't filed anything for 2 years. The books don't balance (this is not a fraud problem - there's MORE money than there should be, if I'd been getting the bookkeeping right). There's paperwork in 3 rooms of my house. The to-do pile keeps falling over. I have a list of catch-up work that I look at every day and ignore, because I'd rather be out on the garden, or working on the quilt I'm making for my daughter's 10th anniversary, or writing poems. I'm not even getting the annual competition under way, because the committee decided to include a new section - this year only - themed on Gallipoli. A sensible idea, but more work than I usually do.
If I quit, here and now, never go to another committee meeting, skip the monthly meetings, stop opening emails, collecting mail, writing cheques and updating the membership list, the Poetry Society is going to be in deep shit, and I'll be terminally embarrassed at the mess I've made of things.
If I'm in a Tarantino movie, it's 'Reservoir Dogs' and I'm in a Mexican standoff of my own making.
I need help.