In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Inside the Bubble.”  A contagious disease requires you to be put into quarantine for a whole month (don’t worry, you get well by the time you’re free to go!). How would you spend your time in isolation?

Bubble Think

If I were to be quarantined for a month, I would see it as serendipity’s way of forcing me to confront some tasks I’ve been putting off for too long.  First of all, there are the boxes in the garage cupboards that I have been neglecting to deal with for 14 years–old tax records going back to 1964, a life’s correspondence, sets of slides of Bob’s and my art that we used to jury into shows, Bob’s stone carving tools.

Also on the shelves are boxes of art made at the beach and boxes of art supplies from when I was doing art activities with the girls at La Olla orphanage last year. Other boxes of art supplies from this summer’s art camp sit on the floor in front of the cabinets along with assorted things taken out of the back of my car to enable other things to be put into it.

I want to deal with these things.  I want my garage restored to its former neat order, but I dread finding places for all the supplies and disrupting my studio I just got back into a semblance of order.  And I dread going through those old letters for two reasons.  First, because they may be too dull to deal with and secondly because they may not be and may dredge up old feelings, sadnesses or stupidities.  But most of all, because I saved all those things thinking I might someday want to write about them and if I read them, I might feel the obligation to do so.  Note that I didn’t say compulsion.  If I felt a compulsion, it would be wonderful; but then what things would I have to put off doing to make time for this new compulsion?  My blog? My art that I haven’t been doing for the past year anyway?

I don’t know why I put off things I would really like to do.  I just keep shoving them to the back of my mind, where they niggle at me from the darkness like an especially good chocolate bar saved  for last from my Halloween bag of pleasures.  They have been stashed for fourteen years or one year or six months.  The layers most easily dealt with are on the outside of the dread cupboards, saying, “Deal with me.” Why don’t I do so?

Perhaps it is because something is telling me to simplify and to do only what I want to do.  So I do the blog.  Overdo the blog.  I’m compulsive about it.  Is there a prompt left undone? The other thing I’m compulsive about is daily exercise in the pool.  Today is overcast and there was no hot water yesterday due to a break in the main pipe, so my compulsion rests for the day.  Friends are coming for Mexican Train and comida, so I have a replacement activity.  The pork loin and carrots are in the crock pot.  Spuds prepared for baking.  Lettuce for the salad disinfected and dried. My blog is about written (or so you perhaps hope.) Should I sort just one box? Or do another prompt?

If you have an especially visual imagination, you can perhaps envision me with a thought bubble coming up out of my head.  “What to do?” it reads.  I sit in front of my laptop at the dining room table.  I’m still in my nightgown.  Morrie sleeps in a curlicue at my feet.  Guests are not due for another four hours.  What to do?

If I were quarantined for one month, I wouldn’t have to choose.  I’d have time to do them all.

Newer boxes taken out of the car and never dealt with are boxes of art made at the beach and kids’ art supplies that need to

15 thoughts on “Bubble Think

  1. Laura L.

    Well, things like the old tax records, pppthhh… You guys are always celebrating something down there, and there is usually fire involved, those tax boxes would make for some good bonfire fuel.

    Why IS it that things get SO hard to do? Stupid little things? Bigger, important (scary) things? Like you I can go into denial and just over-do the blogging, or something similar.

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  2. granonine

    I’m fascinated to notice, as I read through today’s responses to the prompt, that we all expect to be quite busy during our quarantine.

    Aren’t we going to be sick? I mean, really sick! Why else would we be quarantined? I, too, went the route of books, laptop, writing, etc. but after I posted I thought, “Wait a minute! How sick? When I’m sick enough to stay in bed, I’m generally to miserable to want to do anything but sleep!”

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          Perhaps we’ve been quarantined because we’ve been exposed but we never come down with the disease. I don’t want anything curtailing my work or my fun!!! We are in charge here to change the prompt as we wish…I grant you the power to do so!!! ;0)

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  3. Margaret Murray

    Hey Judy! Did you channel my mind? Your thoughts speak to me and my plight. I would only embellish it by multiplying by a huge barn, two people’s stuff and forty-six years in the making. It would be sweet to have a cast of hundreds of helpers, all focused on clearing up this stuff for a month – maybe it would need more than a month! Wait – what would it be like to be quarantined with hundreds of people for a month?

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  4. animar64

    I sprained my knee and I’ve been laying around for a couple of days. I’ve eaten pizza, played video games taught my dog how to take my socks off and I even read. Last weekend our power got knocked out for three days and guess what…I did the same stuff. If I had a month of down time I already know what I’d do …goof off and then spend weeks cleaning up the mess. Ha!

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      My all-time favorite statement of any blog I’ve ever read: “taught my dog how to take my socks off!” HA!!!!! You are someone who knows where to place your priorities!!!!

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  5. bkpyett

    Judy, you make me think of our garage. Having just done the bookshelves and relieved them of old tax papers, it did feel good, though the large back shed awaits. We brought boxes of stuff back from Chris’s parents house when it was sold, to be sorted at a convenient time….
    Before I left Canberra, I did a huge sort, and burnt all of my letters and papers, not even tempted to have a look at 8 years of letters my mother had saved of mine, written to her from Europe. Too late now to whinge! ❤

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      i just keep thinking of the box of my husband’s medical reports and all the emails I sent while I was nursing him. I threw them all away and then retrieved them just before the garbage truck came. Within two months, I was writing a book about grief and recovery and those were all the materials I used to write the book! Who can know what we’ll need in the future? But feels so good to get rid of things. I’ve never been able to burn his lifetime of journals, either, but one day someone will, I guess.

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  6. Alka

    I’m in the same situation, that too about garage cleaning/emptying. Unable to get myself to do it, as if I don’t care and still I do care because it has to be done.

    “Perhaps it is because something is telling me to simplify and to do only what I want to do”
    I can relate to this.

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