Jim Gaffigan once said, “My wife had gotten so lazy lately. Or, as she calls it, ‘Pregnant.’”
More than 30 years ago I read a short story. I don’t remember who wrote it, either Chekov or Turgenev, one of the Russian greats. It was about a lazy man. He stayed in bed all day long, wearing his silk pajamas and robe, and even when a guest came to visit him, he didn’t get out of bed. He would fantasize about fervently and energetically conducting an orchestra, then tossing the sweaty curls off his forehead at the end of the symphony, and taking a grand bow. Yet he would do no work to earn the title of conductor. That is how his days were spent, in bed and in daydreams.
Mr. Pearson, my journalism teacher and mentor, used to say that we are all lazy, we all want the path of least resistance. Knowing this about our inherent nature, we can do something about it.
My therapist hates the word “lazy.” I think she thinks of it as an excuse, not an actual thing. She said that I do everything I have to do — that I successfully fulfill my role of mother, daughter, friend, payer of bills and fluffer of laundry.
Except that I don’t. Sometimes I do things I have to do, but not things I want to do. Sometimes I don’t even do the things I have to do — if it wasn’t for my husband — both his nudging me to do laundry and doing much of the laundry himself, we’d be walking on layers and layers of dirty clothes. My house is a mess — sometimes. Because there are times I absolutely do the least amount and no more. I’d rather read. Or write. Or knit while I watch TV. Whatever the reason, I think it all boils down to laziness.
But maybe that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I’m “lazy” when I’m really tired. Sometimes I’m “lazy” when I’m really stressed or depressed. Sometimes I’m “lazy” when I feel I’ve hit the wall with my writing or am feeling overwhelmed. The point is, my “laziness” IS an excuse, but an excuse to rest or recharge, or just breathe and escape from the stresses of daily life.
Laziness can be bad, it can be paralyzing and debilitating, almost like a sickness. But sometimes, it can be a good thing, a necessary break. When a company allows and encourages vacation time, the message is rest and recharge — “go be lazy.”
But sometimes, I swear, I really cannot tell the difference.