The “IRL” Edition

In Advice, Life, People, question on July 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Joanna, of Toronto, asks,

Dear Ally,

How do real people have a nine to five job and manage to accomplish things in the week (laundry, meals, shopping etc.)? How also do some manage to raise children at the same time that are not completely deliquent? Moreover, how do they plan for the future while staying on top of the present, things like vacations and life insurance? I’m confused. I do one of these things, and it’s taken me 2 whole months just to find the time to Ask Ally?


*   *   *   *   *

Dear Joanna,

Well, allow me just to say that I am pleased to see that my humble little blog took precedence on your list of things to do – precedence, even, over food and semi-delinquent children. I mean, I am well aware that if most people’s list of “important stuff to do,” featured a tie between “birth children; raise to peak of near-delinquency” and “write in to Ask Ally,” I would be on the losing end of that one. So I would like to acknowledge the inner turmoil that you no doubt faced, and thank you for making the right choice: me (for all readers, in the future, bear in mind that the right choice is always me – even if I am not one of the options).

Allow me to preface this post by saying that I do not have a nine-to-five job which occupies my life.
I do not have several obnoxious yet adorably filthy delinquent children who keep me run off my feet, day in and day out. At least, not that I’m aware of.
I am simply a lazy sod.

Relatedly, I’m a grad student. That means that I’m expected to put in the same number of hours as a full-time job each week, but that I procrastinate heavily until I’ve managed to squeeze that 44.5 hours of work into about 75 minutes of heart-stopping, hair-tearing stress.

However, I do, to some extent, understand your query. I have watched my mother for years, trying to discern exactly how she manages children, a husband (apparently husbands are little more than larger children), a dog (slightly less messy than the children and husband), working about 50-60 hours a week, housework (to clean up after the children, husband, and dog), and shopping, and yet still finds the time to send her most beloved daughter the occasional recipe, chain e-mail, picture from home, or Facebook poke.
Personally it seems to me that if I had to do what she does, I would have dropped dead from six heart attacks at once, probably about ten years ago. But this is why mothers tend to be heroes – they are now expected to do six times more than any other member of the household, and because it’s expected of them, they get very little help and even less recognition.

Tributes to mothers aside, in my watching, marveling at, and occasional contribution to my mother’s hectic life, I realised something: it’s impossible.

Allow me to make a simple pie chart:

Anyway, as the pie chart shows, (aside from the fact that I apparently do a massive amount of laundry) real life is not temporally possible. Well, it is, but it isn’t.

My hypothesis is as follows: giant tortoises live for much longer than humans (source: Wikipedia), and yet most people are somewhat more advanced intellectually than a tortoise (source: blind optimism and a fools hope). So how is it that they have been able to figure out the secret to long life? The answer is: there is no secret. They just live, get food, make babies, die (source: speculation… what else could they possibly do?)

Humans, with our silly little “brains”, seem to think it necessary to do things, and say things, and think things, and make things, and so on. So much so that we need more hours in a week than what’s available.
How do we manage? Secret alien technology. Somewhere we picked up some sort of knowledge that allowed us to disrupt the normal flow of time in order to allow us to get more done. Of course, we always feel rushed because we literally are trying to do more than is physically possible, and we’re only just getting it done.
The drawback is that we don’t live as long as tortoises… in fact, we’re only able to extend our lifespans to just under a century (on average) thanks to significant medical advances, which we wouldn’t be able to achieve without the secret alien technology to give us enough time to get it done. Ironically, without the secret alien technology, we wouldn’t need to make significant medical advances because we’d be living as long as tortoises (and asking for a longer lifespan would kind of be greedy).
I’m sorry Joanna, but I think my research has revealed that the only logical way to get some spare time on your hands is to marry a giant tortoise, settle down, and start living the slow life.
The very, very slow life.
  1. it looks all grown up!

    good show!

  2. he he
    wow when i typed in my name your website already knew my e-mail
    so professional!
    also i just re-read the time management pie chart post — and i have concluded the key to happiness will lie in my marrying a tortoise!

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