Silent Running

If you have been hopefully checking this space every day to see if I’ve posted anything of earthshaking import, it won’t have escaped your notice that I haven’t posted anything (worthwhile or not) for two weeks. The last few days I’ve been thinking about why that is. The bottom line is basically this: company (that is, house guests).

My daughter and son-in-law, who live in England, arrived October 3; they will leave tomorrow. On September 14, I emailed the photo below to my daughter with the subject line “Why you can’t come home yet.”

As I’ve mentioned, I’m working through the photos, scrapbooks, documents, and other memorabilia from my father’s house, and I’ve been using my daughter’s room as one of several temporary storage locations for the boxes and piles of material I’m going through. As the time for her arrival drew near, I had to really “get serious” about getting this cleared out. She had assured me that as long as there was “a path to the bed,” it would be fine, but I was aiming at a higher standard. In the event, she was amazed at the transformation and very pleased at the spaciousness of the “guest room” even though there were still several stacks of boxes at the foot of the bed and elsewhere (not to mention in the hall, in my office, in the living room, etc.). At any rate, that massive “cleanup” (or “neatening”) project consumed the usable parts of several days.

I had expected my time to be entirely at their disposal while they were here—for cozy mother-daughter chats and other family activities—and I had managed to more or less clear the decks of “business” activities for the time they’d be here. That has worked out well, in fact. Last Saturday we mounted up an expedition to the local outlet mall and spent over six hours shopping for maternity clothes and other desiderata. Since then my daughter and I have attended several functions together while her husband was away on business, and the four of us (my husband and I and the two of them) have done a number of things together.

But it has still been an exceptionally relaxed and lazy week, with both daughter and son-in-law out of the house on business or visiting with friends a good bit of the time. I’ve had time to read, catch up on online activities, and generally loaf. So why haven’t I been blogging?

One reason is probably a perceived lack of material. For that I could at least partly blame the weather (we’ve had a good bit of rain) and scheduled events that prevented me from walking, thus depriving me of “thoughts,” but that would be disingenuous: what I’ve been thinking about both when walking and when not is “Why am I not blogging?”

I have come to the conclusion that the answer is not lack of material, time, opportunity, or any other reasonable excuse but just lack of concentration. Having extra people in the house, even when they’re not there, is a distraction. If they’re at home, they may interrupt at any time. If they’re out, they may come home and interrupt at any time. And while writing this drivel really doesn’t require high-level compositional effort in actual practice, in theory it requires concentration, a few uninterrupted moments to put a few coherent sentences together. On days when I can’t seem to finish a brief newsgroup post (one paragraph) without my train of thought being interrupted, the prospect of writing a blog post seems out of the question.

My daughter and son-in-law will leave tomorrow, and, barring catastrophe, we will not see them again till next June (when their baby will be nearly three months old). So I am in no hurry for them to leave; these last few hours will doubtless be spent trying to cram in all the things we meant to say and do. But after they leave, even though I will have to immediately dive back into the work I’ve been deferring, life will seem more serene as we return to our “normal routine.”

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1 Response to Silent Running

  1. Luc Sanders says:

    I must admit, I was wondering what had happened to you. Luckily I saw you posted in the Word newsgroups, so it had to be something else.
    Do enjoy your daughters stay. Living in another country does not make it easy to keep contact. Although e-mail, and even chatting does make it easier. The only two persons I chat with are my daughters.

    I am always complaining to my wife that we do not see my oldest daughter quite enough. And she lives in the same country. So I have no reason to complain at all.


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