It turns out, there is such a thing as being too productive. My once beloved to-do lists–hallmarks of my post-ketamine productivity–have run roughshod over my life. They consume my every conscious thought. I awake each day and arrive home each evening to a chain of emails I’ve sent myself and then replied to endlessly, with items to be purchased, phone calls to be made, errands to be run, notes, reminders, and thoughts that have roused me in the middle of the night, taunting, You’ll be sorry if you’ve forgotten us come morning! So, I write them all down on one of my myriad lists–the number of which seems to multiply exponentially with every passing week.
In architecture, there’s a term called “project creep.” It’s the result of a nagging feeling that, if you’re going to do X, you might as well take care of Y, and, oh hell, let’s throw Z in there, too, while we’re at it. It’s how clients who set out to do a guest bathroom remodel end up with a two story addition and a new garage. They start with well-intentioned, realistic plans, but before they know it, reason takes a back seat to their burning desire to tackle every project they’ve ever dreamt of in one fell swoop–no matter how implausible or costly. On ketamine, my project creep looks a little like this: I need to brush my teeth. While I’m at it, why don’t I polish them with some baking soda? (Crunchy hippie trick!) Hmm, do I have any floss? Cut to fifteen minutes later and I’m drooling over the bathroom sink, enthusiastically yanking my dental work out with a safety pin and a pair of rusty needle nose pliers, all the while praising myself, Look how much you’re accomplishing! You’ve wanted to do this for ages! Keep at it, you’re almost done! Thank god I had to go to work or that avenue of productivity might have ended with me sitting in a bathtub full of ice, performing DIY surgery a la House MD, shouting, This is great! What is this, my appendix? Who needs that?! Ooh, I’ve always wanted to take a stab at suturing. I’m learning so much! Mercifully, my organs are still intact, and I’ve since made a dental appointment to clean up my handiwork and grind off any residual glue. (I may have no qualms about prying wires from my teeth with simple tools, but I draw the line at wielding anything with a power cord near my face.)
Beyond the day-to-day chores, moving has sparked a whirlwind of “getting shit done” that has me tackling bigger ticket items, as well–things I’ve been putting off for years. I’ve arranged long-overdue doctor’s appointments (my automated healthcare system informs me I haven’t had a physical in eight years! Who knew?!), cleaned out my closets three times over, purchased new dinnerware (after eating from two plates, one bowl, and barely a handful of silverware–all pilfered from my parent’s collection–for the past eight years)–I’ve even made plans to purchase a proper dining table! No more eating on the couch like a slovenly frat boy, for me. Gone are the days of licking spilled barbecue sauce from my sweatshirt because the couch cushions jostle my plate when I lean forward to inform Netflix that, Yes, I am still watching and I find it rude–and more than a little judgmental–that you felt the need to ask. Soon I’ll be sitting upright in a formal dining room, eating over a table (okay, okay, it’s not actually a proper dining table–it’s a dough-prep table. What did you expect?) enjoying my meals like a grown up, living beyond my means like a grown up, eternally fretting about finances like a grown up. Ahh, adulthood–feels great!
All this productivity may seem like an asset, but I’ve reached the zenith of tackling necessary assignments and sailed right on by to inventing problems to solve in an attempt to soothe the task-driven beast in my mind screaming, DO MORE! DO IT ALL! YOU HAVE NO NEED FOR SLEEP WHEN THERE ARE THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE! I can’t seem to strike that sweet balance between efficiency and down time. Rather, my options appear to be ignoring the beast altogether at the risk of missing the occasional directive of actual import, or bowing down to the pressure and checking items off my lists in a maniacal frenzy before appearing to reach the bottom and jotting down, “Add more to-dos to your to-do list,” resulting in some sick, ouroboros-like cycle of eternal, gratuitous labor.
I’ve made every attempt to mellow out. Yoga feels like a painfully slow waste of time that could be better spent making phone calls. Watching TV is no distraction–so much paperwork and research can be done while watching TV that it’s more of an adjunct, really. Even my favorite activity–baking–is interrupted by mad dashes to my computer as I recall yet another baking tool that needs to be added to my To Purchase list (subsection: kitchen). The only real cure I’ve found seems to be crossword puzzles–a hobby with which I’m so obsessed, my mind so consumed, that the world around me disappears until I come to hours later covered in ink (yes, I do them in pen–I’m a rebel, Dottie), still muttering in crossword-ese.
So, if I seem a little distracted to you lately, please understand I have a lot on my plate. There are t’s to crossed, i’s to be dotted, any number of lists (currently, eight) to be expanded on and amended, a tome’s worth of paperwork to be completed and submitted by an irksomely vast array of deadlines, and I’m still trying to figured out the name of that 18th century Austrian composer. You know the one–begins with an A, fifteen letters, the sixth of which is C. Surely, one of you must know. For the love of god, somebody help me out, here!