Doing stuff is exhausting.
I’m a big proponent of taking breaks. Or just not working at all. But a lot of people feel like they have to earn their time off. Work hard, then you can have a vacation. I’m not going to argue with that, but I’m going to remind you how much work you do every single day.
Let’s take this simple task: You need to get milk. To give your character a motivation, you want cereal and you’re out of milk.
Here are some of the steps involved in getting milk:
- Look in the cupboard for soy milk or something.
- Beat yourself up for letting the milk get this low without a back-up plan.
- Think about how much you want cereal and if you could do without it.
- Think of how long it’ll take to get to the corner store and back.
- Psychologically prepare yourself for the idea of leaving the house.
- Might as well think of other things you need from the corner store. Sure, it’s adding work, but it’s working smart.
- Check the fridge to see what else you need.
- Check the pantry to see what else you need.
- Check the “secret” snack cupboard above the fridge to see what else you need.
- Write a grocery list in your phone.
- Think about whether the corner store has all of these things and decide whether to go to the grocery store instead.
- Check the weather to see how to dress and whether to bring an umbrella.
- Shave?/Make-up? Am I going to see anyone I know?
- Get dressed to go out. Put on stuff that you’ve already worn, cause you’re “just going to the store.”
- Think about the fact that you might run into someone.
- Change the shirt to a clean one. Bummy jeans are still fine.
- Drive? Bus? Bike? Decide to walk.
- Grab your reuseable bag.
- Picture yourself proudly/smugly saying “No thanks” when they robotically ask “Bags?”
- Worry that the reuseable bag has the logo of a competing grocery store and hope they won’t hate you for that.
- Grab your keys and phone and headphones to play music while shopping.
- Open the door.
- Put the reuseable bag down and grab your non-offensive-logo’d backpack.
- Leave and lock the door.
- Check to make sure it’s locked.
- Wait for the elevator. Think about moving to a place with a faster elevator.
- Ride the elevator with someone in silence, then as you’re leaving say, “See ya” to whoever that was.
- Find a good Walking Down The Street song. Or listen to a self-help podcast.
- Cross against the lights and feel bad as someone with a kid judges you for setting a bad example, even though nothing was coming and your kid should be learning to think for themselves and not follow the “rules” laid out by the traffic “man.”
- Think about all the things on your mental to-do list and what you should be doing with your life.
You’ve spent your energy doing 30 things already, and you’re not even at the grocery store! Look at you, workaholic.
Ignore this milk-related video and stay focused.
- Think about how you wish so many things were just a little different than they are, and wonder how to bridge that gap.
- Basket or cart? Carts are too cumbersome. Benedict Cumbersome, amirite? Grab a basket.
- Look at the basket and hate its design. Do I carry or roll this? Sure, it’s cool they have wheels now, but it’s so narrow and deep at the bottom, and grocery store trips start with produce and bread, and end with 2-litre bottles of pop. Squish.
- Look for an older style basket. Complain in your head then move on.
- Grab an avocado. Not on your list, but still good. You remember that the smoothness is a good sign of whether it’s good or not. Also pushing down on the nub. Also, the colour. So much avocado advice.
- Grab… oh hey.
- Run into someone you know. But you can’t remember their name. You’ve met like 10 times so it’s too late to ask. Shit, they remember your name.
- Think about the cleanliness of your jeans.
- Spend the “conversation” trying to place where you know them from and their name and anything you can ask about them, and wondering if they can tell that you’re in your head wondering about their name.
- See organic carrots are on sale. Still a dollar more than the regular carrots, but aren’t they better?
- Think about money. How to make more. Can you afford organic?
- Dream of a world where you can buy whatever you want without looking at prices.
- Realize Greg’s still talking and he just asked you a question.
- Apologize for being distracted, Greg.
- Greg waves goodbye as he wheels his cart away. So Greg.
- Grab the organic carrots.
- Think about putting the regular carrots down in exchange, but they’re in a different section, so you’re either putting the wrong thing in the wrong place or you have to go all the way back to where the “normal” produce is.
- The basket feels heavy and you wish you’d grabbed a cart instead.
- Go find a cart, and just drop the basket in it.
- Drop off the GMO pesticide carrots as you make it back to where you were.
- Get past produce and decide which aisles you can safely skip, but still look down for sale stickers.
- Fly through the aisles checking off your list. Non-Kleenex brand Kleenex, granola cereal to pretend to be healthy, those spicy beans for some reason, frozen wild blueberries.
- Look at your list and feel like you’ve forgotten something and plan on being mad when you get home.
- Get in line. The lines are long and they’re not sending new cashiers out to help. Why? Because they want you to use the self-checkout. In fact, they’re pushing those so much, I can only assume by the time you’re reading this you’ll have forgotten that there used to be a human at the end of the grocery process.
- Get in line for the privilege of checking yourself out.
- Scan the first item. It says “Place item in the bagging area.” Don’t even bother trying to get that “area” to understand your backpack. Just put your stuff over there then pack it later.
- Wait through all the “wait for attendant” moments as the machine doesn’t like the way you scan things.
- It says “ring for attendant” but you don’t want to be “that person.”
- How many bags are you using? Nobody around to look smugly at. And to be honest, you bought enough extra stuff that you could use a bag.
- Type in “0” because, hey, I just did your job for you, the least you can do is give me a free bag!
- Put a few items into a bag, feeling guilty and acting suspicious as hell while darting your eyes around to see if anyone is paying close attention.
- Grab your receipt and put it in the bag.
- Don’t draw attention to the bag!
- Walk out quickly.
- Get outside and it’s raining.
- Get mad at the weather app.
- Wait it out for a bit.
- Worry about the frozen food.
- And the milk. Did we get milk? Are you fucking kidding me?
- Think about running up their stupid escalator maze and grabbing milk, but then they’d see the bag. And you’re tired and have other things to eat now anyway.
- Walk home in the rain.
And that’s just to get milk!
Can you imagine how much you work every single day? And I’m not even talking about work (as in, your job).
Sure, maybe you didn’t do all of those things. But maybe you did some I didn’t mention. I didn’t even go into driving and having to find parking and getting gas and all of that stuff. So if you ever feel like you need to earn, or deserve a day off, keep in perspective how much emotional, mental and physical work you put into every single little task you do.
You deserve a break. Take this moment to laugh and play. You can always go back to work the next time you need to pick up some milk.
*For those who need closure:
- Get home and aren’t sure where to put the wet bags down cause it’s a wood floor.
- Leave the groceries in the hallway, and take off your wet shoes.
- Quickly dry your hair with a towel while worrying about how safe your groceries are in the hallway and who would take them and what are you even afraid of?
- Get the bags and put the bags on the counter.
- Take the receipt out of the bag to file it somewhere so that someday you can try and figure out your food budget.
- Put everything away.
- Put the plastic bag in the bag of bags to reuse later for picking up dog poop, or to put litter in, or whatever. So many uses for plastic bags, what was I thinking only bringing home one?
- Wipe the counter down.
- Put the box of cereal back in the cupboard.
- Order pizza. I mean, at this point, you’ve worked up quite the appetite.
Next post: the ordeal of ordering pizza.