These Are the People In My Neighbourhood

Oliver is into his third week of grade one, and after a week away at Yankee, I’m back on track as his “walk to school in the morning” parent.

If you know me at all you know that waking up at the same time every day to do the same thing in the same way is tantamount to poking myself with a sharp stick. I am a creature of habit, yes, but my creaturedom requires improvisation, or at least the possibility of improvisation, to work properly.

In other words, I’ll probably be home for dinner tonight, but I could also be in Berlin.

And yet somehow I have successfully managed to leave the house every morning at 8:10 and get Oliver to Prince Street School for the 8:25 a.m. bell without fail. I have had to rewire significant parts of my brain to make this work, but so far the rewiring seems to be working.

Other than the sheer regularity of it all, the most startling revelation that’s come from doing the same thing at the same time every day is the realization that there are a lot of other people doing this too.

Apparently most people are creatures of habit, perhaps more by circumstance than desire. And so every day on our walk to school we see the same woman walking her dog on the same route, and the same mother dropping her daughter off at the Zion kindergarten, and the same Dan Misener-look-alike walking to work. This morning I noticed that the same small bird is perched on top of the traffic light at the corner of Prince and Kent every morning too.

Yesterday I lollygagged in bed 10 minutes later than usual. I was in no danger of falling out of line, but from Catherine’s reaction — “are you taking Oliver to school today?” — it was obvious that she still harbours some doubts about my long-term abilities in this regard. Indeed I think that part of my steely resolve on this issue is to simply to demonstrate to Catherine that I am not a total lay-about and that it is possible for me to make some contribution to the efficient running of the household, no matter how small it might ultimately be.

In the meantime I have to remember that salving my stressed psyche by introducing random improvisations into other parts of my day — I might each lunch today, or I might not — is perhaps not the most effective way of completing the rewiring. Although it’s still nice to delude myself into thinking that I could wake up tomorrow morning in Bangkok.

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Dan Misener's picture
Dan Misener on September 27, 2007 - 00:40

How odd. I thought I’d taken care of all those clones I made.

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