“What a Waste,” by Jane Liddle

Apr 27th, 2016 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Here I go, wasting the day again. I must be the laziest writer on the planet. My plan was to start writing first thing in the morning before even checking my email because I knew email was a gateway to surfing the Internet. But while the coffee brewed I convinced myself I would pop online only for a second, one single second, and gave in. I booted up my laptop and checked my email, which led to eBay, and then to Craigslist’s missed connections. I wondered if anyone saw me during the five minutes I was at the grocery store buying low-fat vanilla yogurt yesterday. In order to feel a little bit better about being on Craigslist, I put up an ad to sell my bike, which I’ve been meaning to do since I quit riding it five years ago after an accident. Then I read advice columns for an hour, during which I called my insurance company and got a bill for blood work cut in half. Two hours lost and practically half the day gone when I should have been writing my article about boredom in the modern age due in two days, but instead I had read Miss Manners columns about the wording of graduation party invitations.

And I just got lazier after that. As usual I didn’t make it to the gym. I was just too tired after going to the tailor to get a dress hemmed and then to the post office to drop off my taxes (after an extension because I was too lazy to do it at the time). After this I should have at least run on the treadmill for a half hour but instead I went to the Goodwill to drop off a VCR and videocassettes that I held on to for fifteen years, the VCR just gathering dust in the bottom of the closet. That’s how lazy I am, I had this useless electronic for years, and never bothered to throw it out. You used to be able to put electronics on the sidewalk but not anymore. The sanitation department recently changed the rules and now you have to find another way to throw this stuff out. That’s how long I had this junk, that the bureaucratic government of the sanitation department managed to take action before I did.

I just didn’t have the motivation to go to the gym after that.

When I got home at lunchtime I made a point to not turn on my computer so I wouldn’t waste any more time. But then I redownloaded Twitter to my phone and countless hours went by as I read about a social justice fight in an artist community that I’m not a part of. I didn’t have it in me to cook so I ordered Indian from Seamless, which was the only time-saving deed I did all day. Afterward I washed out all the plastic containers for the recycling bin.

By this time the day was practically gone. I decided since all was already lost I might as well log on to my computer and waste time on Twitter without straining my eyesight. I responded to my agent, who had to send me a second email reminding me to return the proofs for the book I wrote over the Christmas holidays on the history of the public library. I had gone over the pages last week while at jury duty but hadn’t sent them back yet (because I’m the worst). I decided to just scan them and email them to her, so that took an hour, during which I wrote up a proposal for a little novel I had been working on that spans generations of a family that settled in Utah in the eighteen hundreds. I meant to do that two weeks ago and also to write the actual thing, but I got so caught up in renovating my kitchen after a pipe burst I just couldn’t get it together enough to put the thoughts together. Which reminded me: I owed more paperwork to the home insurance company, so I was at the scanner again copying those receipts.

Of course all this meant that I was confronted with the sorry state of my email inbox, which despite being online nearly all the time I manage to neglect. I tried to sift through the unimportant emails but got invested in writing back to a fifteen-year-old girl who wanted advice on how to become a writer. I ended up writing only a little bit about getting used to rejection but then got tired of rehashing platitudes that mentors had supplied me with years ago. I ended the email with a dozen or so links to articles about the very same thing and also included a list of books that would help, and where to buy them online that wasn’t Amazon. Emails to my closest friend about the baby shower I was throwing for her would have to wait to tomorrow. Sorry!

I guess doing nothing makes me tired and I tucked myself in early, right after washing jars of old jam that were in the fridge and writing a quick blog post on how to make a great gluten-free pie crust. I was asleep before midnight like a child with a bedtime. But not before one last check of all the social media on my phone, during which I noticed a Facebook post about a friend getting into a car accident and having no transportation to get to and from work, so I shared the donation link on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and my book club’s email list. Right before I nodded off I remembered that I hadn’t actually donated, so I quickly did that and didn’t look at my phone again, for real this time. I made a promise to myself that I would get up in six hours and write before I even made my coffee and would absolutely not waste the day again.


Defenestration-Jane LiddleJane Liddle grew up in Newburgh, New York, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her short-story collection Murder was published by 421 Atlanta in 2016. She is currently working on a novel and a book about daydreams. You can find her on Twitter @janeriddle or at liddlejane.tumblr.com.


Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.