Just Tell Me What To Do

Some days, don’t you want to be on auto-pilot? Like, not having to make a lot of decisions or worry about much other than following instructions and just “being”?

You know you’re a person with a lot on your plate when you’re grateful for the computerized directions at the gas pump.  Seriously– sometimes when I put gas in my car, I feel fleeting relief at having someone (or some”thing”) tell me what to do. “SWIPE CARD”– you got it, chief.  “SELECT GRADE”– no problem!  “LIFT LEVER”– anything you say, bucko!  I set the nozzle on the “hands-free” latch and lean against the car, taking a two-minute vacation and a deep breath (although not too deep so as not to OD on petroleum fumes…)  Managing self, job, a tween, a teen, family schedules, housework, numerous volunteer activities and numerous “other tasks as necessary” can make anyone’s head spin.  If only some days, someone else could take care of the “managing” part of the equation, for more than just two minutes.

I think that’s why some of us make lists.  It’s like handing over everything you have to get done to a piece of paper, and somehow the paper becomes the manager. It helps you kind of clear your mind of worrying about the big picture and concentrate only on a list of tasks.  Then, making checkmarks or crossing things off is like reporting back in–“See, I’ve done that! And that! And that, too!  Woo-hoo!  Paper, aren’t you proud of me? Do I get a raise?  Hello??”

I think our need for unburdening ourselves of so much decision-making is also why flylady.net, dinewithoutwhine.com and other daily task-oriented websites are so wildly popular.  (Flylady.net sends out constant email reminders, all day, of what stay-at-home people might want to be doing at any given time to help get things under control– one reminder is all about getting “dressed to the shoes” in the morning; another suggests which room in your house to clean on a particular day; another reminds you to “Get to Bed and don’t stay up too late”.  Some days she tells you it’s time to clean out your car; another day she tells you to clean out your purse.)

I think I’d like to have something similar to our family’s GPS, when we set it to the “Austin Powers” voice.  Although our GPS has sent me woefully astray, it sure is fun to get lost hearing Mike Myers (or a decent facsimile) in that crazy British accent sing out, “Groovy driving!” and “You’ve reached your destination– Yeahhh!”  I’d love to be able to plug my To-Do list into a device like that in the morning, and hear Austin guide me through my day.  I could hit a button and hear him say,  “Do a load of laundry.”  “Answer emails.”  “Update your calendar.” “Walk the dog.” And then when I finished and deleted each task, I would hear his voice say, “Groovy, baby!” or “Shagadelic!” How fun would that be?!  And you know, there are so many GPS voices available now that my electronic manager would have to have lots of voices as well.  Let’s see, some days I could listen to the inspiring voice of Richard Simmons (“Cmon, just one more task and you’re done with the list!  There, you’ve done it!! Now go reward yourself! You deserve it!!!); or a torchsong diva like Celine Deon (“You are…de greatest mother… in de vorld! Vel, other dan me!”) or even Martha Stewart (“Time to wash the dishes– and speaking of that, it’s a good thing to store dishwashing liquid in an antique glass bottle next to your sink.”).

If only someone would invent that!  For now, I’m glad that at least I have a husband who wakes me up every morning (and lets me know what day it is), a library who calls to remind me when my books (and tapes, and DVDs) are overdue, and kids who let me know (loudly) that their bathroom is out of toilet paper.  After all, I can’t remember everything!


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