Today’s prompt is What are the pros and cons of procrastination?
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs I’m pretty lazy. I can sleep anywhere, anytime. It takes a no less than a gallon of coffee to get me going every morning. But I’m not a procrastinator. I don’t think there is anything “pro” about it. Whether it’s writing, chores or paying bills, I’m a “do a little bit every day” kind of person.
I wasn’t always this way.
When I was in my early twenties, I procrastinated. Though I was driven to do theatre, the pay was lousy and my bills piled up.
I applied for a loan from a place called “The Associated.” It was located in one of the suburbs. I had a beater car and drove there on fumes convinced I was wasting my time.
I knew they wouldn’t give me a loan because I had seen movies where a good-hearted woman goes into a building of architectural renown. She enters the stately building with her head held high. She is wearing a tasteful dress, hosiery and pumps. Lipstick.
A secretary escorts her into a private office that has a shade on the window. The good-hearted woman sits down and explains her financial situation to a pragmatic meanie who is sitting behind his desk.
“My hands are tied,” he says. “There’s nothing I can do.”
He aggressively stamps DENIED onto the paperwork. She says she understands, thanks him for his time and walks out with her head held high and her heart filled with goodness.
It wasn’t quite like that for me.
When I drove to Eagan, Minnesota, I chain-smoked half a pack of Virginia Slims all the way up to the door of the sleazy strip mall storefront. I flicked the butt of my ciggy into the parking lot (yes, I littered) and walked through the door. I smelled of cigarettes and flop sweat. Some kind of beep was triggered upon opening the door. A modern “doorbell” had replaced any need for a secretary. I quickly scanned the room. There were a few cubicles and desks. A man stood up and said, “You must be Constance.”
He walked over to me and passively shook my hand.
“Constance, I’m Aaron.”
He escorted me to his cubicle with the paperwork already prepared. He congratulated me and said I was approved. He explained to me I’d have a couple months of a “grace period” before I had to start paying the loan back. He showed me where to sign.
It had a ridiculously high interest rate — I think it was more than 20% — but I signed it with a sense of relief.
Of course I quickly fell behind. When I couldn’t pay my monthly installments on time he started calling me every day. If I saw “Associated” on the caller ID I didn’t answer. Too chicken.
“Call me back, Constance,” Aaron would say. “Today.”
It was the most off-putting male attention I have ever received but one day I finally answered.
“Hello?” I answered the phone with the grand innocence of a good-hearted woman.
“I see you’re having trouble, Constance,” he said. “Would you like another loan?”
I was stunned by his generosity!
An idiot, I let the feeling of relief wash over me and I took out another loan.
Within a month, my bills started piling up again. This was procrastination at its finest. It took me several years to climb out of that debt and here’s the beauty of it: I had nothing to show for it! I was doing mediocre theatre, wasn’t taking care of myself and didn’t have a clue about how to plan for “the future.”
Eventually, my beater car died. I couldn’t afford another car so I started riding my bike everywhere and the quality of my life started to improve. I stopped smoking, became super fit and found my focus. It took a few more years, but I pedaled my way out of debt, started doing better theatre and by the time I was 29 realized I wanted to write plays. Lots of good changes.
I’ll tell you something: I didn’t particularly enjoy my twenties and am not sure how anyone actually does. But I loved my thirties. I grew up, I guess you could say. I found love and health and adopted a “do a little bit every day” approach to life.
A lot of people think they “can’t write.” Some will only write when they are inspired. It’s a free country and people can do what they want, but there is one thing I believe about writing: anyone can be a decent writer if they simply write a little bit every day. And you can keep a clean house and pay down debt with the same mentality.
It’s 8:30 and I have to go to work. Ironically, this blog took longer than usual to write. And it needs an edit but I don’t have time. I didn’t procrastinate. I just didn’t like going back to this awful time in my life and it took me a long time to write about it. But it’s over now.
Thanks for reading.
Running late but not procrastinating,