Accepting the Inevitable

Balance in a low-and-painful squat against the white-and-pine IKEA cabinet. Reach just behind said cabinet and wiggle the plug out of the socket in a space only just a little deeper than the depth of the plug. Bang my knuckles against the cabinet when the plug pops loose. Lift off the dusty top of the apparatus and clean out its undercarriage, treating the blades with appropriate respect: They’re dangerous even without power. Look at the pile of paper bits in the bin. How will I tackle it this time?

I can work quickly to save my legs, already protesting. Grab handsful of shredded paper and shovel it into a re-used paper bag neither designed for nor adequate to this purpose. Paper bits will scatter, making a break for it.

Come on, boys!
To Hell or breakfast!

Or I can ignore the increasingly agitated remonstrances of my legs and work methodically, hoping to reduce the after-action clean-up. Shake out each handful, gingerly lift it up and out of the bin, and drop it into a re-used paper bag neither designed for nor adequate to this purpose. Paper bits will still somehow manage to escape.

Yippee! Freedom!

Emptying the paper shredder is not my favourite job. No matter how careful I am, dusty paper bits litter the floor around the shredder when I’m done.

In an ideal world, taking extra care and time with a task would have some benefit. Something like higher accuracy. Fewer breakages. Or, maybe, less clean-up. In this world, it is not always so. In this world, some jobs just seem to be unavoidably messy. Difficult. Unpleasant.

Somewhere between “suffering needlessly” and “resisting senselessly” there is a sweet spot: Making some effort to make my work easier, and accepting it gracefully when I’ve done all I can.


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8 Responses to Accepting the Inevitable

  1. Jim Robertson says:

    I hear and empathize with you re the emptying of the paper shredder, much the same happens here.

    But wait, do I see two eyes on the top of the shredder? Is there another face to be found?

  2. Tom Watson says:

    I like your notion of finding that sweet spot between suffering needlessly and resisting senselessly. If you figure out a generic method, please share!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – You’ll be the first to know. They’ll be able to hear my “Woot!” all across the province, I’m sure.

  3. Alison says:

    Since you knew my father well, you can imagine him cleaning out the paper shredder with tweezers. Each piece gently deposited into the recycling bin, and never a complaint from him as he did it. He was a very patient man.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – 🙂 He got in line for patience more than once, I’m thinking, and certainly set a good example. I think I got persistence . . . They’re actually a good team, especially with respect to managing blood pressure.

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