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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Time Study


I have a confession to make...I’m fairly certain we haven’t folded laundry at home for months.  Definitely not since the pool has been open. Today the pool guy came to close the pool. I didn’t even look in the back yard because what a depressing, first world, middle class white girl problem closing your inground pool is! Similar to having a lot of clothing, unfolded though it may be. This meant that I had to fold a lot of clothing to pull my stuff together for this trip. The living room looks like a Chinese laundry exploded. I felt bad leaving it like that so I ordered toilet paper for Andrea as some sort of consolation prize, “Sorry about the living room...house. But your butt will be well tended!” For two weeks at work, my department (or some of us anyway) are participating in a time study. I understand the purpose and it’s interesting to consider how you spend your days. In her book, The Writing Life, Annie Dillard observed, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.” Clearly, we’re not to account for every minute of every day but there is a weird “pressure” to this accounting. No one wants their days frittered away and yet today I had to spend an awful lot of time trying to explain that there really are not 28 pay periods a year so their vacation accrual was accurate. I wanted to ask why they weren’t looking for the extra pay but knew better than to introduce this notion into the conversation. Anyway, the category for something like that would be “employee relations” but there are others - training, recruiting, etc. And? Other. The problem with giving all or nothing people, such as myself, this task is that I feel compelled to provide an accounting of every single moment of every single day even though this is NOT what is required or necessary. Today I took a break to grab a sandwich and thought, “Is this other? Why is this taking so long? I must get back to work! I need to order toilet paper....” Later, I mindlessly perused the toilet paper selections available on Amazon and thought, “Ultra soft...I wonder if that will leave crumbles? Ultra strong...” I hesitate and then remember I’m not only working but recording my time so I hastily purchase the ultra soft and hope we don’t regret it. Imagine if this was a 24-hour log? It reminds me of that cat diary a little...You know that one? Google it. Mine would read something like... 11 PM. Can’t sleep. Kitten crying in other room. Report this to wife who replies, “Maybe he’ll be quiet if we stop talking?” We means me. I try to be quiet. Eventually fall asleep. 130 AM - 243 AM. Lie awake in despair wondering if the quest to hire will kill me or if I will pull this off? Can I record this time as “recruiting”? I am thinking about how to solve the problem...Kitten begins crying loudly in other room as if he smells my panic and insecurity. 515 AM. Alarm goes off. What the hell was I thinking?! Reset clock to 6. Ish. 8 AM. Colleagues share a hilarious story with you. Comic gold. Only you cannot blog about it. Foiled. 1030 AM. Text from wife in her “time of need”. She threatens you with bodily harm if you blog about it or share to social media. Foiled again. 5 PM. Head to airport in a Lyft. Share Lyft info with wife in the event that Carlos in the black Honda is a serial killer. I’ve watched a lot of true crime shows so I pretend I’m in the FBI and profile him. I don’t fit his profile. Arrive at airport safely 


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