The Hellhole

Friday, February 11, 2005

At Christmas, my mom gave me some coloring books and crayons, to be funny., that is, SANTA brought me some coloring books and crayons, like old times. I thought it would be funny, in turn, to color one of the pictures and insist Mom hang it on the refrigerator, so before I went over to their house for the Super Bowl I colored one of the pictures. It was a Spongebob coloring book, by the way. I enjoyed it a lot, really enjoyed it. Stayed inside the lines and everything. Coloring the picture was intensely satisfying and oddly soothing, which got me wondering why, exactly, it was so enjoyable.

Here is my theory: as a child, you get to finish things, but as an adult you rarely, if ever, get to finish anything. For example, once you’ve been through second grade, you’re done with it. You never have to go back. Once you complete elementary school and move on to junior high, you never have to be in elementary school again - same thing with moving on to high school, then to college. Same thing on a smaller scale with the tasks themselves: each assignment is completed, turned in, graded and over - you do something, you finish it, it is done and it remains done. Once you’ve earned a Girl Scout badge, it’s yours, you’ve earned it and you don’t have to repeat the same activity to earn more of the same badge. Once you’ve pledged a sorority, you don’t have to keep going through rush. After you’ve earned a degree, while you can keep going to school, it’s to earn another, different degree, not to get the same one again.

Conversely, as an adult I never finish anything. I don’t mean that I don’t DO things, I just mean they’re never completely concluded. Example: one part of my job is accounts payable but even if I spend the entire morning cutting checks and paying bills, I’m only ‘done’ until Sheila gets the day’s mail, when there are more to do all over again. I do monthly and quarterly financials, but I barely get the entries finished before it’s time to do more. The deposits, like payables, are only ‘done’ until the mail arrives, when more deposits need to be entered, allocated, totaled and banked. It continues at home, where it doesn’t matter how long I spend or how hard I work to clean the house - it only stays pristine a couple of hours before a puppy accident, a cooking spillage or similar requires further cleaning. I barely get the clean laundry folded and put away before another pile needs to be washed, dried, folded and hung/put away. No matter how meticulously I make my list, I don’t get groceries bought, lugged home and put away before I’m out of something and need to go back. I no more get the dishes unloaded from the dishwasher and put into cabinets before more dirty dishes appear in their place.

I think that’s why I sometimes feel so overwhelmed and exhausted. Not that my life is bad, at home or at work - in fact, it’s pretty damn good. But I think that’s what depresses me, gets me downhearted: the fact that no matter how hard or how long I work on something and no matter how thoroughly I do it, it’s really not DONE; it isn’t finished, it isn’t completed and it’s only a matter of time - often a very short time - until I have to start doing it all over again.

All of which is to say, take some time and color yourself a picture. If you have kids, requisition their coloring book and crayons. If you don’t, spend a couple of bucks and buy yourself a book and some Crayolas. But whatever you do, COLOR A PICTURE. Trust me, you’ll feel better.



  • The picture has pride of place on the 'fridge door - as she actually did both sides, I reverse it daily.

    I bought myself some paperdolls for Xmas - something I remembered from my childhood (yes, they had invented paper when I was a child!) but so far can't bring myself to cut 'em out. So, I'm gonna borrow the crayons Helly & Bo left at the house, and color me a picture! I don't have a color book, so I'll draw my own.

    As a very wise person (Bo) once said, "we may have to grow old, but we don't have to grow up" so I'm not gonna. Grow up.

    Helly's mom

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:09 PM  

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