Extravagantly Long and Tedious

For various discernable reasons, I feel overwhelmed by obligations that, in reality, are not obligations. They are options I have chosen to treat as obligations. Perhaps “chosen” is not the right word. I should replace that word with “allowed myself.” I have transformed wishes into commands that exercise control over my time. These commands are not commands at all. They are imposters. They pretend to be obligations by dressing as obligations and speaking the language of obligations and drawing lines in the sand as if they were absolute obligations, not subject to challenge. These sly bastards have succeeded in convincing me to convince myself that I MUST behave in ways that are not REQUIRED, but merely DESIRED.

This is nothing new. And it’s not unique to me. All of us allow options to behave as if they were obligations. We allow our expectations of the consequences of failing to exercise our options to convince us that options available to us are, instead, obligations.

I realize, of course, the arguments that it’s all a matter of semantics. Well, yes and no. It is a matter of semantics in that an “obligation” may not equate to a command. But it is not a matter of semantics in practical terms. In practical terms. we treat options as if they were commands and, in so doing, we transform options into obligations that we treat as commands.

Perhaps this discussion could be made clearer with the use of concrete examples. I’m sure that is true, but I am not in the mood for concrete examples. I am in the mood for abstruse abstractions. Although this entire discussion is not especially abstruse. One simply has to be in a receptive mood in order for the simplicity of the concept to sink in.

Okay. I give in. I’ll offer at least one concrete example. Maybe more. I must finish painting the inside of several rooms in the new house before we begin the process of moving. No, I want those rooms to be painted before we move, but I am under no obligation to ensure that it is done. Nor am I under any obligation to do the work myself. If I want the job done, I could pay someone else to do it. But I have allowed my desire to have a different color paint on the walls to transform into a requirement that the walls be painted. Further, my desire to refrain from spending money on a professional painter has obligated me to do the work myself. No, my desire to refrain from spending money made me choose to do it myself. I am under no obligation to save money. Nor to do the work myself. Nor, for that matter, to ensure that the colors of the walls is different when we move in than they are today.

And that’s just one example. I could write about dozens more. Hence the feeling of being overwhelmed. I’d really rather simply sit and let the world go by. Or go visit The Momentary in Bentonville. And, while I’m at it, visit Crystal Bridges to see the latest exhibits. Or eat in some of the fine dining establishments in and around Bentonville. Or try some of the alluring bars in the same area. Or, perhaps, buy an expensive home within walking distance to all those attractions. I believe I’ve gone off the rails; my fantasies, though, correlate directly to my options that masquerade as obligations. They are all connected. I could offer proof, but I’ll just leave it as is because I have no need to prove anything to myself. Well, that’s not true, either, but discussion of my emotional uncertainty has no place in this paragraph.

See? This is what I do when my mind is hidden behind a locked door that can be opened only by entering a combination on its lock…but I’ve forgotten the combination. Or the lock is broken. Or the hinges are rusted shut. Or I’m at the wrong door and, no matter how hard I pound on the door, no one will open the damn thing to reveal that I’m in the wrong place.

It’s now 5:26 a.m. and I’ve been up since 3:02 a.m.  I was awake several minutes before I got up. I am confident I will slip into sleep early this evening. Maybe even during the afternoon hours I will nod off. But I should try to stay awake and alert until 10 or so tonight so I can actually sleep through the night. But my aching knuckle will wake me, I’m afraid, so there’s really no point in trying to sleep, knowing that sleep will elude me when my damn knuckle starts throbbing. I’m beginning to think my “sprain” may be more like a “tear.” Tissues hidden beneath the skin on my ring finger could be torn to pieces. Tendons or muscles or connective tissues in my finger might be shredded beyond repair. Yet I continue typing away, oblivious to the irreversible damage I am doing to my own phalanges. Or should I say phalanx, since it’s only the one finger?


I may trade my Subaru Outback for a pickup truck. Probably not, but maybe. I regularly have use for a pickup, but I prefer the gentler ride of the Subaru. Actually, I’d much prefer the much smoother ride of a Lexus or a Toyota Avalon or their luxurious car cousins. But in terms of practicality, a pickup is hard to beat. A van, though, might be a contender, because its cargo area is protected from the elements. And a van can double as sleeping quarters with the right modifications—or in situations in which the collapse of civilization somehow renders living in houses in the Village unsafe. Hmm. Pickups, though, can be horrendously expensive. Vehicles that once were considered purely utilitarian and, therefore, were extremely inexpensive (compared to the “luxury” of cars with automatic transmissions and power brakes) are now akin to collectors’ items; or so it seems, based on asking prices. Seriously, $65,000 or more for a pickup? WTF! At that price, it should come with a pleasant companion (I’ll call her Samantha) who gladly would give the driver neck rubs any time he desires. But I’m getting away from my point: trading my car-like vehicle for a truck-like vehicle. I doubt that I’ll do it. I doubt, in fact, that I’ll give it serious consideration. But I’ve made rash decisions before. And I may do it again. But not right now. Not at this very moment.


This overly-long, wandering, nonsensical diatribe is about to come to an end. My poor finger is pleading with me to stop torturing it. And I can hear readers crying out for me to do the same. Although I doubt anyone else will have read this far. But if I had the money, I would offer to buy the first a new car for the first one to contact me and say “extravaganza.”

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Extravagantly Long and Tedious

  1. Patty Dacus says:

    Really, John…extravaganza? There, I’ve said it. Good morning, by the way. Settle you mind and have a great day, whatever obligations you choose to fulfill! 🙂

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.