Have you ever noticed that when we make fun of people who multi-task, it’s often in a way that’s a little bit admiring? It’s sort of like how you feel about the guy who juggles chain saws on Venice Beach: I wouldn’t want to do it, but wow, that is certainly amazing. This is the mom equivalent of the chain saw juggler: a woman piloting a mini-van, dressed to the nines for work, throwing juice boxes over her shoulder into the back seat, thrusting her dry-cleaning at someone who runs out to her car to get it so she doesn’t have to stop, talking all the while on a Blackberry and putting on eye shadow with the brush clenched between her teeth. (That last move is not, strictly speaking, possible unless you have a specially engineered, curved eye shadow brush, and that woman probably does. She bought it while she was buying Christmas presents, a late birthday present for her best friend and getting her pants hemmed.)
I think we could all benefit from embracing sinful laziness. And not just the kind of laziness that is actually just a rest between massive efforts to catch up on things, but true sloth, which is without guilt, without an end in mind, without any goal but to have no goal. You can’t see this, but I’ve been looking out the window wondering what that might look like. Maybe because I’m a sort of industrious person, and one who feels guiltily unproductive as a way of flogging myself into accomplishing even more, I am not certain how to go about being more slothful. This has not stopped me from trying. Here’s my action plan (the truly slothful do not have action plans. the rest of us, though, have to begin somewhere):
- Ping-pong. This summer, I bought a competition sized ping pong table. It’s German and it’s beautiful. It took my industrious husband an entire morning to assemble it, but it’s so well made (and it folds up in half for storage under its very well made cover) that it will last forever. We also have enough paddles and balls for everyone to play forever. I mention this because I believe one of the keys to sloth is to have plenty of diversions available when you think you maybe should be alphabetizing your spices. When that urge comes over you, all you have to do is find a person who’s willing to play ping-pong. (Or scrabble, or monopoly or Parcheesi, or poker.) Games. There is always someone in our family who is looking for an excuse not to take a bath, or clean their room, or do their homework. They are the Sloths in Training, the Young Pioneers Who Stayed Home (being too lazy to get on the wagon train). They will always be available to play games with you.
- Never, ever eat standing up. And don’t eat until as many people as you can rustle up in your family are sitting down with you. And then chew your food. Sloth and gluttony (which is really, to my mind, just the normal voluptuous experience of enjoying your meal) are important partners.
- Lose your cell phone. I know many people aren’t good at this. I, however, am. I can never find my cell phone and, periodically, that state becomes permanent. It’s good not to be easily interrupted when you are busy being idle. The people who are looking for someone to bring the snack to the PTA meeting will move on when they see how hard you are to get in touch with.
- Go to the movies. A lot. Enough said.
- Stay in bed. Read in there. I know this isn’t supposed to be good for people who have trouble getting to sleep, but I love reading in bed.
- Engage everyone else in slothfulness. There’s nothing more inhibiting to a good lazy day than an industrious person cleaning up around you. Tempt them into evil. I mean, suggest they go for a good long bike ride, so you can laze around in peace.
That’s it. I’m too lazy to think more about this, or to go look up the origin of the word sloth or to even think about what other deadly sins I would like to embrace.
Wishing you a lazy day,