Habits keep me from meandering like a drunken derelict in search of the streetlight. During my weaving and bobbing, I've even developed some good ones. Miracles happen.
One of my most fruitful habits involves setting aside togetherness time for my wife and I. From eight to ten every evening, I abandon my computer and negotiate with her over what togetherness project we ought to indulge in and who gets the first crack at the remote. Without this purposeful pattern, my wife wouldn't see me except during meals.
I developed the togetherness ritual to convince my wife that I'm not unfaithful. Despite a mounting body of refutable evidence, I do love her more than I love my computer. I think she's convinced since she's accepted my hiding out in my cave for 28 years. When she questions my ruptured commitment, I point out that I did propose to her and not my computer. Why not. My wife's a much better cook than store-bought electronics and she proofs my writing better than Microsoft Word. In addition, she's more gregarious than any inanimate object.
During meal times, I flush computer thoughts out of my mind and try to act human. That's when we have most of our discussions since talking and eating go together like Norway and lutefisk. If I can't consistently do at least two things at a time, I figure that I'm forfeiting my chances of ever finishing the bits of wisdom I impart to the world via various essays. Besides, conversations override the Lorelei song that my computer emits. When I do hear the seductive PC calling during togetherness time, I raise my voice just enough to keep from succumbing to electronic temptation. That evasion lasts until my wife picks up something to throw, indicating that I'm yelling too loud. Being perceptive to subtle nuances, I quickly back off.
Another one of my efficiency habits involves not letting tidiness interfere with my chores. I consider orderliness an expensive luxury that hasn't earned the right to dominate life. My only exceptions occur when I can't find something I need. Then, I reorganize my piles of resource material and computer printouts until the errant item is found. During those ferreting missions, I seldom solicit my wife's assistance since that stratagem results in my having to throw out pack-ratted items she thinks I don't need.
My wife considers pack-ratting and procrastination abysmal habits. I don't. Why waste valuable time appeasing meticulous demigods when there's no immediate payoff? I'm reasonably sure that the upper levels of the deity chain think like I do.
For an efficiency prop, I keep TV time under control. As an example, I refuse to get addicted to news on the tube, limiting my exposure to moments when my wife selects that type of program during her half of our togetherness time. It isn't as though I don't care about who's elected or what congress is doing. I'm sure that news flashes will interrupt the football and baseball games that I watch if anything important crosses the newswires.
Watching TV isn't efficient since the tunnel-visioned anchors repeat, rehash and rephrase each major story at least 29 times. Because of this, I've programmed myself to flip the off switch before the count reaches 30. Fortunately, my wife seldom exercises the veto rights she obtained when we both said "I do."
During my segment of our togetherness time, I prefer card games to watching the news. When playing cards or board games, I can score points with my wife by giving her my simulated attention as she details the trials and tribulations of her favorite soap-opera vamps.
Another good habit I vigorously cling to involves taking my wife to the movie at least once a year. Fiscally, that habit doesn't make sense; the same movie will be on TV in less than six months. However, it does help keep my wife happy and it makes a cheap date.
Now that my own habits are firmly entrenched, I hope to pass on some of the good ones to others. Take my love for computers, for instance. If I could get my wife hooked on them, we might have more togetherness than two hours a day. We could sit side by side, prompting our systems with his and hers keyboards as we surf through the web. The only flaw in this scheme is that computers give her the migraines.
Habits have been my salvation. Too bad I can't develop an identical set for my loved ones. To each, his or her own. C'est la vie. As they say in the movies, "Heaven can wait." So can my computer. It's now togetherness time.