Saturday, January 30, 2021

Just Breaking Up the Monotony (Day 30)

I have been stopped and stopped again and then stopped again in the process of writing my blog entry for today. I forget what in the world I was going to write about and truly, if anything, whatever it was not meant to be, because it did not come to fruition here. 

About 18 years ago, my mom, Mike and I drove to Erie, PA for my second cousin's wedding. My mom took a shift driving and at one point, she suddenly honked the horn rapidly 3 times, awakening me from my nap, causing me to hit my head, scream an obscenity and fear we were about to crash. When I asked my mom what was wrong, she said: 

"Just breaking up the monotony!"

It was an unpleasant and hilarious (and now legendary) interruption. Mike and I will often do something sudden or noisy and flippantly comment:

"Just breaking up the monotony!"

I think if the 2020's had a tagline, it would surely be "Just breaking up the monotony!" 

Interruptions seem to be the theme of the 2020's--this is not the the Roaring 20's of 100 years ago--no, no, this is the Interruption 20's. These are the pandemic and politics and fighting and unrest and inequity and chaos and the world just spinning in a completely berserk, deranged and completely inconsistent way, kind of 20s. And to make it even crazier, part of "just breaking up the monotony," became a new monotony of lockdowns and isolations.

This decade frequently wakes us up with a bump on the head and fresh smack of stress. 

When I look back on my own January 2021--in my own small world--it is pockmarked with interruptions. Regular days that turn into days at the Emergency Room or days without working plumbing or simply blow-ups and arguments in my own home. While the lack of smooth sailing is a normal part of life, all of it at once, while masked and living our best remote lives, is an entirely different beast. 

This interruption of normal life makes it impossible some days to move forward in a way that feels normal and on other days, the interruption of normal life is exhilarating. How I have loved figuring my way around restrictions to safely and creatively celebrate birthdays. I've loved the bonus time I've found to write everyday--because I don't have anywhere to commute to.  I've adored more time with my husband during the week and watching my children build a bond unencumbered by the outside world. My front yard vegetable garden only happened because of the pandemic--the community garden was closed and we needed a spot at home to grow our cucumbers. Our local explorations of places like Fortescue have been so exciting and there are still so many hobbies and home-based activities we haven't crossed off our lists! Our bonds with our local friends have grown so deeply--and I am so grateful to have that homegrown family I always craved. 

Interruptions can be opportunities, sometimes. 

However, you don't get to choose your interruptions, that's the rub, isn't it?

You don't get to choose if the world is flung into a pandemic or if the pipe in your basement cracks. You don't get to choose the death of your beloved uncle. You don't get to choose if your family interrupts you every 2 minutes with stories and questions and needs. You don't get to choose if your daughter is cranky or your husband is exasperated. You don't get to choose if a storm knocks out your power. You don't get to choose if it rains or snows. You don't get to choose if your monotony stays monotonous (unless you are my mother with her palm on the car horn) or your monotony becomes exhilarating. 

Interruptions happen outside of us and around us and even within us, without permission. 

Tonight, I tried to shush my interruptions--but those interruptions were not going to be shushed. A phone rang, a dinner was ready, someone was upset, a vacuum part was missing and a coat needed to be hung up. When I finally got back to my laptop, I tried to remember what in the world seemed so important a few hours ago. 

And I have no idea. But then I remembered my mom, driving that big Buick across Pennsylvania, honking the horn like a madwoman, breaking up the monotony--and I remembered that it is these interruptions that give us a story to tell--and without them, we'd all just be blank pages. 

So, here's to the Interruption 20's, may we all have more exhilarating interruptions than we have paralyzing ones. And may we all break up our own monotony once in a while. 





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