Saturday, August 05, 2006

Errands

It's been sort of a productive weekend so far -- or at least it seems like one, despite the fact that I haven't actually produced anything.

I did have a few errands to run, however, and those have all been taken care of. By the way, why is it that we say we have errands to run, even though running is almost never involved? The dictionary defines an errand as a short trip that is taken in the performance of a necessary task or mission, but it doesn't say how that trip must be taken. Specifically, it doesn't say that you must run.

My first errand actually involved some driving and some walking. I had to get an oil change for my truck, so I drove the truck over to the repair place and walked back. Then, after the work was done, I walked over and drove back.

My second errand was to get some cash, and my third errand was to get a haircut. For these errands, I took the car.

And as it turns out, those were all the errands I had today. So I really have no right to feel productive, since I didn't actually accomplish anything. After all, I wasn't the one who changed the oil -- I just drove the truck someplace where someone could change it for me. And I didn't give myself a haircut either -- all I did was drive somewhere and have someone cut my hair for me. However, I did manage to get the cash all on my own, so if I feel like I've accomplished something, it's probably because I dipped a card into a slot, pressed a few buttons, took some cash out of another slot, and put it in my wallet.

Actually, I haven't told you the whole story, because in addition to the errands, I also had some other things to do. For example, I had to wash my car. I could have easily converted this from a task to an errand simply by driving over to the car wash place and letting someone wash the car for me. As a matter of fact, the place that does oil changes will also wash your car. And they must do a pretty good job, judging by the long line of expensive cars full of people waiting patiently to get them washed. But the truth is, I sort of like washing my car myself. It takes some effort -- a lot more work than just driving somewhere -- but I don't mind doing it. That's why I called it a task rather than a chore. The two words may be synonymous, but a chore sometimes has the connotation of being undesirable or disagreeable. And even though I'd rather have a car that washes itself without my doing anything, I don't consider the work to be undesirable or disagreeable.

Okay, now I have to tell you something about haircuts. I used to hate getting haircuts. One of the reasons is that I grew up when long hair on men was fairly common, so I just regarded getting my hair cut as a superfluous activity and a complete waste of time. The other reason is that it seemed like I could never get a decent haircut. When I was younger, my hair was a lot thicker and a lot wavier, and it seemed like no two people could ever cut it the same way. So getting my hair cut was pretty much a gamble -- I never really knew what I'd look like when it was done. It didn't matter if I went to an expensive place or a cheap place -- it didn't even matter if I cut it myself -- it was always pretty much a hit-or-miss proposition. And it used to take forever, since I was constantly telling them things like "Okay, I want it just a little shorter over here" and "Now just trim this part a tiny bit and even it out here a little." And an hour or so later, after they finally kicked me out of the chair in exasperation, I'd usually go home and make a few final corrections myself. So getting a haircut always ended up being both an errand and a chore.

Every now and then, I'd find someone who gave me a decent haircut, but the next time I'd get the same person to cut my hair, it would end up looking completely different. I did finally find someone in the mid-90s who always did a pretty good job. The only problem was, after a few years, she quit and moved away. I couldn't find anyone else who did half as good a job as she, so I decided to let my hair grow for a while. Five years, to be exact. (Actually, that isn't very exact, since it was actually a month or two less than five years.)

In the five years during which I let my hair grow, two things happened. One was that my hair started thinning and becoming less wavy. The other was that I stopped wearing contact lenses and went back to wearing glasses. So when I started getting my hair cut again, it was easier for them to do a good job, since my hair wasn't going off in all different directions. As for getting rid of the contacts, that's only important because when you wear glasses and you go to get your hair cut, they always ask you to remove them. So since I couldn't see myself in the mirror too well anyway, I somehow got in the habit of closing my eyes throughout most of the haircut. So now I always get a pretty good haircut, and it hardly takes any time, even though I still have to occasionaly make a few changes myself when I get home.

So all my errands and chores and tasks for today are completed. I usually work out and ride my exercise bike on Saturday mornings and I've taken care of that too, although I don't consider that to be an errand, a task, or a chore. It's not really work and it's not really fun, so I don't really know what to call it.

In any case, the only thing left for me to do today is to finish this blog entry, and I'm just about done with that as well. I'm pretty dilligent about posting an entry every week, but it never seems like a chore. That's because it's fun. It's fun for me to write and it's fun for you to read, which means that everybody's happy.