Observations and arguments.

Archive for April, 2005

Pat Sat on Hat

Now that I have myself become a Homeowner*, I have begun to have new and different kinds of conversations with other Homeowners, mostly revolving around issues of maintenance and repair and of course the concomitant costs.

(Thankfully I have discovered other Homeowners who are not merely ambivalent about these costs, but who have done the math and openly acknowledge that they have become imprisoned in what amounts to a dangerous Ponzi scheme–cf. future post, “Doing the Math.” But that is not my main point here.)

Which means that with each minute and every ten dollars spent on a horsehair lobby brush for sweeping up very fine dust in my garage and basement I pull the hat that is Homeowner down more firmly upon my head.

But there are only so many minutes in the day in which to inhabit any particular identity, and in opposite corners of the polygon you have got: Husband (which large multiset encompasses Friend, Lover, Roommate, Financial Partner, et al.), Father, Son, Friend, Employee, Writer, Musician, Band Manager, Filmmaker, and I’ll stop now because we’ve gone past the things I no longer even pretend I have time for.

This is not just a matter of Getting Things Done, because as transformative as that damn *IN* box and stack of index cards have become I do cling to the belief that there are levels to Being that defy the call of the next action.

And while upon the birth of the boy I accepted with no amount of grace that I cannot be good at my Job AND a good Husband AND a good Father, the choice to be merely adequate as a Husband is unacceptable (because, look how well that worked out last time), and the prospect of mere adequacy as a Father seems deeply unsatisfying.

But to the extent that external interactions and conditions work to determine which hat one is wearing, the 55+-hour work and commute week represents nearly half of my available time awake each week. So that to have any chance of properly structuring my priorities I am faced with the choice to consciously diminish my professional competence. Energy that I had previously directed towards a Job Well Done I am now attempting to direct towards Doing My Job Poorly.

I have no way to assess whether I am coming out ahead in the amount of energy and passion available to my roles as Husband and Father but I can gleefully write that this post has been written on Company time.

Which to return to the beginning of the thought I must also now take care not to leave the Homeowner hat on for too long at a stretch. To abandon a degree of conscientia in matters of home maintenance (but not in mortgage payments, because: I am not THAT stupid).

Meaning so while I’ve got a date marked on my calendar next year for me to drain my water heater:

I might opt to let it slide another year.

*A fiction in which the banks that hold my dual mortgages refer to me as the Homeowner in correspondence, and tell me they’re merely holding the title “for safekeeping.”