A friend told me she had a bad habit, and I replied, “Surely you have no bad habits.”
She answered sweetly with a gentle smile (because she is a sweet and gentle person), “I have exactly as many as you do.”
“Uh, oh. You are in big trouble!”
Yes, I have a few bad habits. Okay, I have many bad habits, but, really, I don’t want to make a comprehensive list. How about if I confess to a couple?
When I got my new car (as far as I’m concerned, cars remain “new” for eight to ten years), the back-up camera led to dizzy disorientation. Once I adjusted, though, I discovered I like it. Eyes on the screen, I shoot out of the garage zooming a delightful 16 feet. It's fun! (I always stop and look carefully before turning onto the adjoin pipe stem shared by four families. I have a bad habit, but I don’t want to kill anyone.) I’m waiting for a backwards-race, and then I’m so in.
I woke up at 4:00 A.M. the other morning. 4:00 A! M! (This is not a bad habit, just bad luck.) I spent the next three hours equally obsessively reading Beloved (although the nightmares it gave me were the reason I slept poorly) and obsessing planning a quilt (including digging out the colored pencils and graph paper). Obsession over anything, or in my case, everything, is never a good habit, plus all that early-morning intensity used up my concentration quota for the day. I didn't accomplish one of the things on the ever-expanding to-do list. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Instead I went to Costco (couldn’t find the ice cream because I was so tired), cruised through the mall (and later returned two items, wondering why I thought I should buy anything in a haze of exhaustion), and tried to pretend I was napping although I knew perfectly well I wasn't.
I know it’s a bad habit to avoid doing the things that should get done, but, isn’t it amazing how much you can accomplish while avoiding those things?
At least that day I didn't propose to any young women. This is the bad one, the really, really bad one. I did not propose to a young woman that day, not once (and, no, it’s not what you think). I have this bad habit of proposing marriage for my son. It’s not that any of these women has met or will ever meet my son. And it's not that my son isn’t perfectly capable of proposing to someone himself; I know that he is. It's just that I meet these interesting and adorable young women. One is an interior designer: just think how gorgeous their home would look. One is a ballerina: lithe and long and lovely. One is an intern applying for her residency in internal medicine: I mean, a doctor for god’s sakes! When I see them standing there all beautiful and smart and funny, out it comes, “Hey, would you like to marry my son?” If he ever finds out, I am so dead. It’s not like mean to do it; the words just tumble out. I have got to stop. I have given myself a stern talking to, so we’ll just have to hope I’ve learned my lesson. (BTW, just for the record, they laugh; they do not accept.)
They say that confession is good for the soul but perhaps not so much for behavior. In fact, if you smiled or laughed at any of this, you’ve encouraged me. I’m blaming future sins on you. OTH, I got the quilt planned and the yardage calculated. I’m good to go.