John Scholvin

John Scholvin

still can’t fit a half-stack in the trunk

27 Dec 2020


I came across the complicated TODO list tracker I was using before all this came down. Like a bug in amber, there it sits in a unearthed, forgotten Apple Note to remind me of what was a priority in early March of 2020, both home and away.

For the year prior to that, I was traveling for work pretty much every week, usually spending Sunday nights through Thursday afternoons just outside of Boston. Given that I only had 2.5 days per week here at home, keeping a prioritized list of what I had to do around the house during those weekend windows was vital. There was always more than could be done, especially as the weekends were often interrupted by blocks of youth sports/dance, social activities, working out, and even scraping out a few minutes to do nothing at all. So the list rolled over from week to week. Over time, as I noticed some events always remained at the bottom of the queue, unserviced, those migrated to another list of longer-term projects to be done if I ever found myself with an extended chunk of time at home again.

Perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, that list sat in amber for nine months, too. There was an early flurry of activity in March and April, preparing the guest bedroom for the possibility of an in-house quarantine for one or more of us, but that was never on the longer-term list. That one just kind of appeared whole from the ether with what felt like infinite priority. Took a week or two of maniacal activity, and it was done. We’ve not yet had to use that room for that purpose—it’s been an e-learning facility and occasional dance studio. It wasn’t wasted effort. Besides, it still could well be enlisted into its intended purpose at any point.

Mañana. Often when traveling to the Caribbean or Mexico, you’ll be told of the (vaguely racist, imho) “philosophy” of mañana. Tomorrow. “There’s no rush. Here, life is laid back, the pace is slower, the days are similar. We’ll get to it mañana.” To ascribe this vibe to the people of these regions does them a terrible disservice. Some of the hardest working people I’ve ever encountered have been hustling their asses off there, mostly for the benefit of white tourists from elsewhere, who do seem to adopt that mood much more directly.

All that aside, dear reader, I can tell you that while I can draw on exactly none of the climatic, cultural, or historical affects of those regions, as 2020 grinded on I fully embraced the mañana lifestyle myself, right here in the decidedly non-tropical middle west. Remodel the living room? Later. Go for a run? Tomorrow. Try a dry month? Write? Grab your guitar? Eat better? Call a friend? Finish that nagging work thing? Mañana, mañana, mañana. It’ll wait until tomorrow, a tomorrow that’ll be just like today.  The problem arises in the recursion: the tomorrow after tomorrow will be the same, too, as will they all for an indeterminate amount of time. Creeping in this petty pace, maybe not until the last syllable of recorded time, but at least for another half year, possibly a whole.

To break out of that cycle first requires mindfulness, and then conscious effort. The end of the year and the solstice are probably as good a time as any to try to effect the change from mañana to hoy. Today. It’s almost like…resolving…to do things differently in the arbitrary time period ahead.

There’s a longer, personal story about how I found my way to this point, maybe worth telling soon. Exercising this set of muscles is a thing I intend to do more often. For now, it’s time to tease that longer-term queue out of the amber. Hoy.