After much thought, I have determined the thing I hate most about adulthood: the paperwork. It is neverending and inescapable. It is like death and taxes: a certainty. It is like this scene in “The 12 Tasks of Asterix,” in which the intrepid Asterix and Obelix almost go insane trying to obtain permit A38 from a government office. (Spoiler: in a sweet twist of justice, it is the government officials who go insane instead.)
Since my entire office was almost buried recently under all the mail, I have resolved to be better about paperwork. It’s a sort of 12-step program I’ve invented for myself that only involves 6 steps, really, which are (1) admit the mail is a problem, (2) open all mail immediately, (3) shred as much as possible, (4) give as much as possible to my husband, (5) file the few things worth filing, and (6) stack everything else in my nifty silver mail holder to be dealt with at some future date that will definitely arrive before I get buried again. Depending on the contents of the mail, sometimes there is an additional step, which is to have a beer, obviously a departure from your typical 12-step program.
You’d think that there would be less actual paper involved in paperwork these days, what with the fact that most bills are payable online, many stores now send their coupons and reminders of sales this way, etc, but honestly all that has done is encourage me to create a separate email address that is devoted entirely to communications I don’t want to read because they are mind numbing and frequent. If they go to this particular email address, it’s great because I often forget it exists for weeks at a time. Then eventually I go and glance through everything for a couple of minutes and move on with my day, back to whatever is the most pressing matter at hand, like staring into space while trying to write an essay or listening to Sia’s “Chandelier” on repeat while proofreading or trying to stop the head-butt war my sons are having in the next room.
Recently, I read an interesting article about procrastination that suggests that it can become a serious problem for people who are depressed, angry, or otherwise bored with large aspects of their lives. I am not typically any of those things, unless paperwork is involved, and then I am always simultaneously angry and bored. (Depression doesn’t set in unless the piles of mail start to tower over my head.) Do you know how exhausting it is to be angry and bored at the same time? It is oddly tiring, maybe because your brain doesn’t know whether to tell you to punch something or fall asleep. It’s the fight or flight response’s much less useful cousin, fight or pass out. Continue reading