Friday, November 8, 2013

Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down, Falling Down, Falling Down

It's fall in Kentucky and the trees are luminescent.  Canary yellows and golds, crimsons and oranges.  It's as if someone flipped on the switch during the daytime hours and lit each tree with incandescent bulbs.

We had a particularly wet summer, so that always bodes well for the autumn colors.  And, although I appreciate this ephemeral beauty, I wasn't so focused on it while I raked bag after compostable bag of leaves for two freakin' hours on Tuesday morning.

Don't get me wrong, I adore autumn.  I love the smell of leaves and wood-burning fireplaces in the night air.  I love the sound of leaves crunching under foot.  I love the fall flavors offered at my local coffee shop -- pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie mochas, and hot apple cider.  And I love the sights as I mentioned before, the lovely trees lined up on my street like Southern Belles in their festive ball gowns.

All except my tree.

This is what mine looks like.

Addled - Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down
That's my daughter being helpful with the rake.

While I was raking, a neighbor approached me and said, "Wow," looking up and down the street for comparison, "you really got dumped!"

Yes, neighbor, I got dumped.  Megatons of leaves flitted on my head and my car while I uselessly raked away.  I felt like Sisyphus.  Ten bags done and you couldn't tell I made a dent.

This made me think about the task at hand.  Why was I bothering?  Why did I care?  What's in this for me?

I was trying to be a good neighbor.  I didn't want the street littered with leaves when the rain came that night, creating a slimy slurry that would lay beneath the snow this winter, making driving conditions worse than they already would be.  I didn't want the mailman slipping on leaves on my sidewalk and walkway, nor did I want the dog-walkers sliding by, raising their mittened fists at my house.  I felt responsible.

I also kept going because I have a completion complex.

If you have ADD, you might have this or you might have the opposite of it.  I love finishing a project so that I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off my literal or mental list.  I feel accomplished.  That said, when faced with never-ending tasks, knowing full well that the task is bottomless, I still tackle it with gusto.  This leads to crushing defeat and self-examination.

I know.  I know.  It's silly.  I should understand the circumstances and give myself a break.

When I worked at a local bookstore in the 90s, I took great pride in the sections I stocked.  Every book was flush to the edge of the shelf.  I had lovely displays of popular titles.  When customers came and took a book, then left it shoved in or left books in a stack in the wrong section of the store -- hello, people, Gloria Steinem does not belong in the "Paranormal" section! --  I would get bent out of shape and correct the problem shelf as soon as I could get off my shift at check-out.

Same with laundry -- why do my kids persist in dirtying their clothes and heaping them in a basket?  Can't they just stand back and admire the neat pile of darks and whites assembled on their beds?  That took an hour to create, my darlings.  ADMIRE IT!

Yet I persisted with the raking and the lack of rewards it gave back to me.

This is what my yard looked like after I raked.

ADDled - Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down - Yard
Yes, I'm aware that the pumpkin is still on the porch.

And here is my yard compared to the rest of the block.

ADDled - Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down - Neighbor's
Look, my neighbor actually has green grass!

Cruel, cruel Autumn.  You haven't heard the last of me.

ADDled - Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down - Bag of leaves

Do you have a completion complex like me?  Strangely, I have loads of projects that are half-finished.  I figured out that is the case because I want everything nicely completed.  If I can't do it right, I stop doing it at all.  I also get bored easily so if I'm not getting any payoff and I'm not entertained, I'm outta there.

What projects do you HAVE to complete?  What projects get the half-done treatment?  Why?