I have very few routines -because I hate them. I always marveled at how women that I know have days assigned to certain tasks. Monday is their grocery day, Tuesday their laundry day, Wednesday a cleaning day. Having assigned days seems like a hold over from the nineteenth century when Laundry and Baking days really would take a whole day.
My husband tells me that routines provide structure and comfort. There is so much voluntary simplicity literature out there…books on mindfulness…being in the here and now. I’ve read them all. If I could relish the small things in life, I would never be bored putting piles of laundry away. But I am. My ‘Putting the Laundry Away Days’ take me all day, but only because I let it pile up for weeks. I don’t really have designated day for this activity, I chip away at the pile on my chair when I need clean underwear.
However, I think I have discovered a routine that gives me a comfort. Once a week, I go to Target. I do not have a designated day for this activity. I go when I run out of my Diet Coke. I get there after taking my son to his elementary school. It must be around the same time- although the time that I get my son to school seems to vary by a big margin. At some point while I am shopping, there is a call for the ‘Target Huddle’. This is when all of the red shirted employees gather in a circle in the electronic isles. They must do this every morning because I always seem to get stuck in the middle of it.
The laughter is contagious. I try not to spy but I can’t resist. The topics are so fascinating. One week I found out about a stomach flu that was downing all of the workers. They were advising everyone to wash their hands. Another week, they discussed theft prevention. Once, they discussed an earthquake that I had no idea had happened the day before. Today, I got to watch them doing stretching exercises. When the employees have their huddle, I know that I am in the right place at the right time. This is their routine not mine. I don’t have to do this. I am just a voyeur. Yet it is the familiarity of the routine that is the comfort. I can leach off of their structure just for a few minutes.
Previously Published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser May 18 2010