You put things off and then one morning you wake up and say — today I will change the oil in my truck.
That line — in Charles Portis’ Gringos — resonates with me because it is a fair summation of my approach to life. I procrastinate and let things slide. I put off until tomorrow what could easily be done today. I do it until the level of self-recrimination reaches a point that can no longer be drowned out by interesting news items on the Internet. I do that with even with actions most people would consider minor.
For example, I’ve put off scheduling a physical exam — it would be my first in five years — even though I’m pretty sure I have a rare form of cancer that might be treatable if caught early. The engine light in my Subaru has been glowing since we left Tupelo a couple of days before Christmas. At some point I should have that looked at. My eyeglasses are about two prescriptions out of date, but for some reason I find it more convenient to squint at books and crossword puzzles than deal with the relatively simple procedure of getting new glasses.
Sometimes it makes me feel like an old man. But then I realize I’ve always been like that — it’s just that there seemed to be fewer things to procrastinate about, back in the day. Also, at a certain point in life, the things that need doing are not things likely to deliver a pleasurable reward. So you find other ways to occupy the time.
But the fact that I’m writing about these undone chores is encouraging. It means that the point at which thought becomes action is not too far down the road. I look forward to reaching it.