I’m pretty sure the right to complain about things that are your own darn fault is enshrined somewhere in the Constitution. Let’s call it life, liberty and the pursuit of kvetchiness.
My complaint is: I can’t get anything done. Oh, I shower regularly, dress and feed myself, do my job, chip away at the five seasons of “Breaking Bad” I need to catch up on, but beyond that I am an utter failure.
And it makes me wonder how anyone gets anything done. Life is a never-ending succession of tasks, some with squishy deadlines, others with rigid ones. Like a zombie horde, they just keep coming. But they are nowhere near as interesting as a zombie horde.
This was driven home to me the other day when I was paying a credit card bill. Because dealing with grown-up things like credit card bills is one of those “anythings” I’m unable to get done, I was pleased that I was paying this particular bill on time — early, even. Then, as I was skimming the list of charges, I saw one for $25. It was a late fee from the previous month.
I had a sick feeling I was sort of late, but I didn’t know I was read-the-fine-print-we’re-dunning-you-$25 late. Apparently, American Express doesn’t look at when your payment comes in and say: “You know what? He was pretty close. Let’s let it slide.” I don’t have that many credit cards, just three, only two of which I use regularly, plus my debit card. But they all are on different timetables, rolling around like comets that approach Earth on schedules that astronomers can pinpoint to the second but that I find inscrutable. I am flummoxed by the planetary mechanics of adult life.
It isn’t just things like bills. It’s also other little chores that pile up. Two weeks ago, I pulled a wool suit from my closet and said to myself, “Winter is coming. I should take this immediately to be dry-cleaned.” So why haven’t I? How hard is it for an adult male with a car and car insurance (I’m pretty sure I paid it) to get to the dry cleaners? Very hard, it turns out, just as it’s extremely difficult to replace a broken drawer pull, apply touch-up paint to the scratched fender of a car, clean inside a dog’s ears, digitize old Kodachrome slides using a newly purchased scanner bought in secret so as not to alarm your wife, hang a painting that has been leaning against a baseboard for at least a year, buy your mother a birthday present, learn how to use eBay to sell countless unneeded gimcracks, calculate how much money to put in a health care spending account, write a critically acclaimed, best-selling novel . . .