I wouldn’t say that I’m a procrastinator.
Well, I wouldn’t say it right away, at least. I’d wait a while. Maybe write myself a note about getting around to saying it. Surf the internet for a while, or watch some reruns on TV. And then, just when you think I’d forgotten all about it, just under the wire — then I’d say it:
I’m a procrastinator.
I used to feel bad when I procrastinated about things that inconvenienced other people. Like if I sent a birthday card a week, or a month, or four years after the date. Or if I kept mashing the garbage down rather than taking it out, until we ended up with a trashcan-shaped solid mass of compressed refuse to deal with.
(It’s not so bad, really. We get some of our best footstools that way.)
But eventually I realized that my slacking off isn’t simply a series of inconsiderate non-efforts that impacts other people. I’m perfectly willing to hurt myself by procrastinating, too. So, you know, at least it’s fair. That’s something, probably.
Take my sneakers, for instance. A few weeks ago, I got back into playing volleyball. I’ve been wearing the same shoes as in the past, because — well, they fit. They have to fit, right? They’re my shoes. I’ve worn them for years. Obviously, the shoes fit.
Except no. The shoes do not fit. I figured this out over a period of about a month. I’d play in the shoes, spending three hours jumping and running and kung-fu kicking around the volleyball court.
“Hey, you know what I say. If you can’t beat ’em, roundhouse kick ’em in the marbles.”
(Hey, you know what I say. If you can’t beat ’em, roundhouse kick ’em in the marbles. It’s not a popular policy — but no one plays too close on the other side of the net any more.
So it works. I’m thinking of having T-shirts made.)
Later that night and all the next day, my feet would ache. The sides throbbing, the arches creaking, the toes threatening to secede completely. But I’d chalk it up to rust and age and too much time away, and hobble through the pain.
(The ladies at my office would sometimes find me mid-morning, in the middle of climbing the one flight of stairs to the main floor. They’d offer to help, or perhaps to send a gurney, but I’d wave them ahead. It’s too late for me, ladies. Save yourselves! Climb like the wind!
Or I’d find a way to seem too busy to need help, like faking a delicate phone call from my doctor or something. Those people must think I’m at death’s door by now. All they’ve heard me say for a month is, “what do you mean, the proctologist says he lost the camera?!“)
But after a day or two, the pain — in my foot, sparky; do try to keep up — would subside, and by the time volleyball night rolled around again, I’d forget and bind my feet in those shrinky shoes and go through it all over again.
(In addition to procrastinating, I’m apparently also not that bright. So sue me.)
(Wait. Don’t sue me. I’d probably show up late for the court date, and then get all confused and incriminate myself. Definitely scratch the suing thing.)
Slowly — too slowly — I figured things out. This happened two weeks ago, when my left foot was pretty well wrecked for the entire week after playing. Specifically, my shoes had squished my toes together pretty savagely, and my big toe — being the leader it is — decided enough was enough. It swelled up to a much larger size, turned bright red and forced itself into the very center of my attention.
So either it was injured, or it was dressing up as Santa Claus for the holidays. Either way, not cool.
I struggled through the week, finally realizing that it was most likely my shoes that were causing these recurring problems. Luckily, I park for work in the garage of a shopping mall down the street, and they have all sorts of shoe stores there. I limp past them every weekday, sometimes dragging a leg, Igor-style, as I wistfully eye the sneakers and court shoes and cross-trainers on their shelves.
Less luckily, I’m a well-established procrastinator. So for how much of the week did I wait before buying shoes, to prevent myself from going through the same blinding pain again?
All much of the week. That’s how much.
Indeed, I procrastinated right through the opportunity, and seven days after my hobbling, I found myself standing back on the court, ready to play, in the. Same. Damned. Shoes.
(I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. You’d think I just liked torture, like I waterboard myself for fun or something.
But no. I don’t do that. Except maybe that one time I tried to touch my toes in the shower and sneezed. That was no picnic. But otherwise, no. Premeditated self-torture is right out.)
So, I played. And my feet paid for it. Not quite as badly as the week before — I laced my shoes up looser than a Penthouse Letters night nurse — but enough to implicate the kicks as Footly Enemy Number One. The shoes had to go. My feet simply couldn’t bear another pounding.
So how long this time did I wait before buying new shoes?
Let’s put it this way. Volleyball night is Tuesday — which is to say, tonight — and starts at seven in the evening. I didn’t visit the shoe store before the weekend last week, of course. That’s way too early.
I also didn’t make a special trip to buy shoes over the weekend. Because that’s a lot of work. And I was busy, probably. Working out a way to jam bamboo under my own fingernails or something, perhaps.
Monday, I didn’t make it to the store because — well, who gets anything done on Mondays? That’s crazy talk. A guy could hurt himself making an effort on a Monday. No way.
Tuesday morning, I cruised through the mall. But I’m not so chipper in the morning, and I really didn’t want to get myself bludgeoned with a shoe horn. Not again. So I passed on by.
And so it was I found myself in the mall, in the shoe store and buying shoes this evening at fifteen minutes after six. Because there’s “procrastination”, and then there’s “waiting so long you pick out the first non-pink sneakerlike objects you can find and buy them because you’re already so late you have to change into gym clothes during stop lights on the way”.
Clearly, I didn’t have time to be picky. Or to fight a horde of Christmas shoppers — because what would they possibly be doing in a shopping mall on December 18th? I can’t imagine why there’d be a veritable sea of humanity washing through the Foot Locker, pawing at footwear and taking all the sales clerks’ valuable time. How would that even happen, right?
Bottom line, I grabbed a shoe off the rack, flagged down a guy in a referee shirt, tried on a pair one size bigger than I’ve worn for the last thirty years — for toe roominess, most expediently — paid my bill and got the hell out. And got to the gym just in time, with one sock on and my T-shirt pulled backwards over my head.
And the shoes? They turned out to be great. My feet are “old fat guy playing sports sore”, not “for the love of god, cut them off and burn the stumps” sore. I can work with that. I’m used to it. No problem. I just wish I’d gone out a long time ago and bought myself a new pair of shoes.
But clearly, that was never going to happen. Not on my lack of watch — and not when there’s procrastinating left to be done. That’s the one thing I’ll get to right away, every time.Permalink | No Comments