I’m alone in the house. There is no noise but dogs sighing, crickets outside in the damp and Chopin. I have cleared the floors and counters and tabletops of debris and vacuumed and everything will stay this neat for the next six hours, unless I decide to have an afternoon party. Which I won’t, because I like being alone. I like having space for myself.
I am alone in the house, and there is the promise of cake.
You might ask, “What? You’re cleaning? You’re wasting precious alone-in-the-house time cleaning?” But truth is, I like to be in a clean house. I don’t like to clean, but I like to have cleaned. So many things follow this pattern. I don’t like to cook, but I like to have cooked. I don’t like to exercise but I like to have exercised. I don’t like giving birth (it hurts) but I like to have had a baby. So, yes, I waste a bit of my precious alone-in-the-house time cleaning the house. I play bluesy music while I do it. The dogs watch warily. Even after all the years of NOT getting sucked up by the vacuum, they are suspicious.
I also waste my time worrying about what’s happening at the office. I waste it thinking about how sad B still looks when we wave goodbye at kindergarten drop off. A few minutes goes to imagining what it would be like to live in an apartment with no yard, wondering how that college boyfriend made out, fretting over Syria, wishing that TV show, The West Wing, were still in production so I’d be better able to understand current events.
Time alone in the house is time to be frittered away because frittering does something positive to my brain and makes it less likely to smoke.
I don’t fritter away all my time. I also make a stew. I write. I do laundry. I answer emails, phone calls, lightening bolts and telepathic messages. I am productive.
But also? I fritter.
And know I’m thinking about apple fritters. See? Frittering is a good, good thing.
And after a day of frittering and accomplishing, I am surrounded again by my three princes who make those hours feel like a year ago. And it’s a good, good thing.