Wednesday, 9 November 2011

"What Did You Do This Week?"

Why do we enjoy for ourselves what we never say out loud?

I remember back in kindergarten, the class would file in on Monday morning, the teacher would say good morning and we would all drone back a 'Good Morning Mrs Phillips' in a unified monotone, somehow all of us knowing how to say it in perfect toneless unison without ever having been taught how.

The teacher would ask us what we did over the weekend, and without exception, the answer would be "Nothing."

In reality, in the space of a weekend, I would be helping my mom in the kitchen, making a favorite meal while she taught me how to chop and measure and stir. I stood alone against hordes of enemies, saving the masses of cuddly animals from soulless robotic overlords. I visited friends and shared tales of conquest and victory afterward, competed in two-player and spent an hour crowing and dancing around in triumph as I thoroughly smashed my friend's record, which had stood unbroken for a whole two months. The day away from home was round out as we went about plotting the downfall of the adult kingdom so that kids could rule the world and outlaw vegetables and homework.

But when asked, at school, "What did you do this weekend? The answer was always "Nothing."

And hey, if I told them that I helped cook dinner and played videogames with my friends, who would care?

Now I'm all grown up, 25 going on 70.

What did I do last weekend?

I built myself a new bird-net frame over my veggie patch. Lettuce and garlic and tomatoes and herbs always taste better when they’re fresh grown, and I like growing them myself rather than having to go to a supermarket.

I made lasagna. One of my favorites, but still an art to perfect. The key to a good lasagna for me, is the Bolognese sauce, so I made that in a slow cooker they day before. Homemade garlic bread is a good side, with a sort of icy-crush fruit and ice-cream cocktail for dessert.

I followed up on several threads of discussion thanks to the wonders of the internet, discussing with people all over the world topics like music, books, food, climate change, politics, entertainment and religion. People I never met, and do not know coming together to express strong viewpoints on things as simple as what was enjoyed most about a particular movie, and as complicated as how bookstores and music stores are now in the same boat thanks to the expansion of emergent technologies, and how these things may be a problem to individuals, but a great progression to the world.

I watched and tried to follow along with several online videos about how to play a guitar, lasting a full twenty minutes this time before my own acoustic guitar strings made my fingers hurt too much to keep going. Still can’t pull a chord change to save my life.

We do things, but we never think of it as doing things.

We make plans for the future, but never seem to get around to actually carrying any of them out. So when we actually start a project or invest out time and effort in something new, something that we have never done before, we rarely bring it up that often, because it's just for us. Something that we spend our time on, just a day in our lives. Ours and nobody else’s, because we never really talk about it do we?

Maybe I'm alone in thinking this, but it feels like the things that we spend time on, the things that truly interest us, the things that we invest ourselves in and count as a part of our day, we hate to share, as though somehow they would mean little to any other who heard about them.

So. I put it to you.

What did you do this week?