Wednesday, November 29, 2006


My daughters used to play a game they devised called This. To play This, one person writes the names of locations around the house on scraps of paper and then places them--a scrap that reads Back of Toilet is placed behind the couch, for example, and then on the back of the toilet, the person places another scrap that might read Piano Bench. On the piano bench goes another scrap, and so on and so on. The other player is handed the first scrap that begins the hunt--the player follows the trail around and around, and at the end is a prize of some kind. They would sometimes play This at our business on Saturday when the place was empty. The scraps would read with the names of the employees and would lead from office to office to office. And the prize would be candy from the vending machine downstairs.

When you want to the play the game, you say, "hey, you wanna play This?"

Sometimes, real life seems like a rambling goose-chasing game of This, and you run from scrap to scrap following directions and instructions and guidelines. Well, I don't want to play This. A little structure for the purpose of fulfilling responsibilities is healthful, but too much is just too much.

Some of us thrive with a series of directions and might even fall on our faces without specific instructions, but some of us do better when we can float. I am a floater. If I'm given a list of tasks to complete for the day, I will get them done, almost without fail. And for the most part, they'll be done well. But how do I complete them? I float--I work, I answer a blog note, I work, I make one of the 30 Christmas cards that I'm constructing out of handmade paper I bought at a craft store, I work, I play my horn, I work, I visit my favorite place for joe and deliver a cup to my yarn friend, I work, I do laundry, I work, I throw the ball for the cat, I work, I pick a daughter up from school, I work, I make dinner. And at the end of the day, all of the tasks are completed, and sometimes even ahead of schedule.

I suppose I really am playing This, but I'm the one writing out the scraps and placing them around the house, not someone else who isn't a floater. And in my own game, the prize at the end is the satisfaction of having lived out a full day. If I ever have to follow someone else's scrap trail, I doubt I'll be able to find a single piece of paper or finish a single task. And there won't be a prize at the end.

So, make room for the floaters--our scrap trail isn't as random as it might appear.


dive said...

When I get home, I'll try This.
I'm old and senile enough to forget what I was doing five minutes ago, so I'll be able to play it with myself quite happily.

Robyn said...

I'm afraid I posted this before I was finished with it, so you may have to reread the end. Oops.

RICH said...

Wow.. you do have full day It sounds to me like other than getting the "cup of joe" your day is pretty much ALL work. How do you find time to write the way you do?

dive said...

That's just not fair. You girls have the unfair genetic advantage of multi-tasking; us boys fall over if we have to do more than stare at a monitor and drool.

Sassy Sundry said...

Floating is an excellent way to be, but This sounds like a fun distraction.

I'm going to read Maryann later on this evening when I can savor it.

Robyn said...

Poor boys, drooling and staring--what an empty life you lead.

Robyn said...

Rich, I have begun a new routine. After the dinner dishes are all put away, I take an hour and a half or so to sit in a corner and write. It's part of the new Less-TV campaign.

Ween said...

I love this post - it totally describes my every day routine. I've always considered myself a dabbler, and have found it works quite well for me.

This, on the other hand, would drive me insane. Too much structure!

Old Knudsen said...

Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit, yep I lead a full life.