Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Practical Things

I am not very practical. Furthermore, I do not particularly enjoy practical tasks unless they are incredibly easy - put out chairs, unlock doors, that sort of thing. Around the house I do the ironing, cooking, washing, shopping, recycling and bins - all very straightforward although I fear I may have just shrunk my only John Smedley which depresses me no end. I bleach a mean toilet.

Liz does the cleaning because she has higher standards than me and is simply better at it anyway. I'm not good at fiddly corners. I sneeze at the first sight of dust. I have no completer-finisher skills.

Over the years I have taken the view that I would rather do a little extra writing work to earn a bit more money in order to afford to pay someone to decorate or do DIY. It is difficult finding reliable people though. I am about to contact my third builder after two kept me waiting for a year each. It's just a pointing and brick-laying job.

I have just agreed to pay some people to come and do the autumn pruning and clear up my miniscule garden. I don't like gardening unless I can design the garden myself and make it pretty Zen (thus empty of maintenance-requiring shrubs). If one day I move into a Rectory (please Lord, no) I will do gardening in work time and not on my day off.

So can someone please explain the feeling of guilt. I am helping someone else to be employed. I am spending more time doing what I love. My parents had a regular supply of gardeners and paid help. Is it that I want to be seen to be good at everything and coping without help?

Come here BB; we need to talk.


Stewart said...

Hmmm. I wonder if it's not so much that you "want to be seen to be good at everythng (sic)", but that you have a subconscious compulsion to do everything well and without assistance.

I think you and I may suffer from a similar problem Steve, although it manifests itself in different ways. I too am not very practical - and yet I cannot get the idea out of my head that this is a failing on my part. I feel that I ought to be practical - that I ought to be able to do all those random jobs that I know I have no aptitude for, and would actually perform very badly if I tried them. Whereas you get someone else to do these jobs for you, and then feel guilty for it ("Not even prepared to have a try at doing it yourself? You shirker Tilley...") I insist on attempting tasks that are well beyond my capabilities (i.e. trying to repair the Local Area Network between the computers in our office - despite the fact that I have no knowledge of how to set up such a network, let alone repair one. This is how I wasted a good part of yesterday...) and then feel an immense sense of failure when I can't ("Anyone with half a brain should have been able to do that Gregg - what a pathetic failure you are...").

If it makes you feel any better, I'm sure your approach is less psychologically damaging in the long run.

(PS - as well as your misspelling of everything, which I've already highlighted, you'll probably want to put a question mark at the end of the first sentence of your last paragraph. I hope you'll take these corrections in the constructive and helpful spirit with which they were intended).

St said...

I have decided that '...can someone please explain the feeling of guilt' is not a question so I am not going to put a question mark after it. It's my blog and I'll punctuate it as I want to. More control-freakery you see. Thanks for the spelling error prompts though. Nice picture Stew.