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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Thrill of the Mundane

It's not the most exciting way to spend a Saturday afternoon but there I was yesterday, washing windows and removing spiderwebs. I also hosed down the front wall of our house even though said wall would certainly be considered a hard surface, and as such not allowed to be hosed down, according to the rules in New South Wales. (Maybe vertical hard surfaces don't count, I don't know.)

So this is already sounding like the most boring blog I've ever posted. I'm losing interest and I'm writing it!

The point is, for the majority of us human folk, most of our time is taken up by ordinary, everyday tasks. Those windows at our place had to be washed. In fact they should have been washed a long time ago, and they should be washed more frequently but I don't really like doing it. It's not exciting. I'd rather be watching an episode of ER. Or reading a book, or running, or dining with friends, or doing just about anything else. However, those windows won't wash themselves, nor will our resident arachnids deconstruct their miniature mansions. These jobs have to be done. I am the designated do-er of these chores. I console myself by seeking satisfaction in the successful completion of the task. The end result of my labour is that the windows and the front wall look much better. They won't stay that way. Everything gathers dirt,dust and spider webs. Everything deteriorates. Nothing maintains itself or improves by itself.

There was a guy at the local swimming pool the other day who had his very young son with him in the water. The boy was around a year old and clad in a protective flotation device, otherwise known as a life jacket. His father was thrusting him high into the air and allowing him to crash land into the water, and the little fella was absolutely loving it. I wonder if that child will be able to enjoy a simple swim when he grows up, or will he always want the thrill of flying through the air, and descending at a rapid rate from a great height. Did I witness the birth of a thrill seeker? A man who will never be able to enjoy the mundane? Who, when asked by his wife to clean the windows, will jump on his Harley Davidson and tear off to the nearest skydiving centre, and jump out of a plane? A guy who, while his wife is at home with their two young children trying to explain why daddy isn't with them again, and feeding them fishfingers, is swimming with piranhas in the Amazon River?

There is a great deal to be said for finding pleasure and satisfaction in simple things. Life is not about the pursuit of the next buzz, the next big adrenalin surge, the desperate search for greater excitement in increasingly risky adventures. My windows are clean so I can clearly see the trees outside. Every leaf, trembling slightly in the gentle breeze. I can feel that breeze blowing in through the open window. I am experiencing the thrill of the mundane, and it's good enough for me.

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