Thursday, August 30, 2007

Almost: A rotten word to live by

I don’t know if you’ve seen the ads from Don’t Almost Give.

They do give me the prod intended, which is to give now instead of “sometime”. You know. “Sometime, I ought to donate to the local homeless shelter” or “At some point here, I really need to think about possibly buying some extra non-perishable food for them” and so forth.

But there is another nudge they give me, which is this: If you’re going to pick an adverb to live by, “almost” is a really rotten choice.

And yet I suspect I’m not alone in choosing it, time and time again.

Today, I almost exercised. But then, well, you know, things happen. It was hot, and I was busy, and there was a lot of housework I needed to get done.

And I almost did that housework, too, but of course I had to run back and forth to the school umpteen times.

I almost balanced the checkbook and I almost bought that stock I was circling – but first I had some other things, you understand. Like playing Virtual Villagers, and reading the comics online. Oh! And also I had to do some comparison shopping for ceiling fans, even though I’ve already decided not to put one in Captain Adventure’s room due to the small size of the room.

I’ve got a lot of ‘almost’ in my life.

Almost is different from, say, “deferred” or “after”. I am deferring the backyard work until the weather is less hellish. I am going to finish the downstairs after I do our master bed and bath.

And I almost cleaned my shower this week.

There really is a defeatist ring to ‘almost’, isn’t there? If at the end of the day I say, “Well, I’m going to clean the shower after I finish {whatever},” that has a very different ring to it than, “Well, I almost cleaned the shower, but I was doing {whatever} instead.”

I’m going to try to avoid the ‘almost’ tomorrow. I may not do all the things I’m hoping to do (in fact, I’d say that’s a sure bet because I tend to make my lists impossibly long) (because I cannot be taught, no matter how many times I do it wrong), but I’m going to try to make those undone things more ‘…right after I finish this…’ than an ‘…and then I almost…’


froggiemeanie said...

Virtual Villagers - addictive little game. I'm almost ready to buy the sequel.

Yarnhog said...

When I hit that stage, I switch into
"just one step" mode--a trick I learned when I had a really, really horrible job that I couldn't quit. It goes like this: "Just get out of bed. You don't have to do anything else. Just get up." Then: "Just brush your teeth. That's it. That's not so hard, right?" Then: "Just get your things together. You don't have to go to work. Just pack your briefcase." I do the same thing now with all the many unpleasant tasks I need to do every day: "Just go clean the toilet. That's it. Just the toilet." And eventually, I talk my way through all the different little tasks until the whole thing is done. You'd think I'd catch onto the trick eventually and refuse, but I never do!

Kris said...

Yet again you have nailed my life to a tee!

BTW - I realized that my least favorite part of laundry is ironing. My husband wears dress shirts to work every day... UGH!

MadMad said...

I almost left a comment, but didn't have anything to add, because you're right, as usual, but then remembered I wasn't supposed to be an almost person any more, so I came back: You're right, as usual! I do what yarnhog does, that whole one step at a time thing...

Amy Lane said...

It can be a good word too...

I 'almost' burst into tears today...but I held it together.

I 'almost' belted my insufferable prickweenie department head across the smug kisser today, but I decided I loved my job.

I 'almost' put in a video, put my head on the desk and taught by electric babysitter, but I remembered I had a conscience and deferred that choice until next week when I will be entering grades.

See--'almost' can be a victory too!