We generally view mundane, everyday tasks as activities to be avoided, or at least rushed to completion. We must get them “out of the way” so we can move onto enjoyable activities. As I recently indicated, I am learning to enjoy the mundane as well as what remains.
I have long enjoyed washing clothes. From my college days using an old and old-fashioned machine with rollers to wring out the water to today’s high-tech, computerized machines, I relish washing the laundry. This mundane task fills my need to keep myself busy without occupying much of my brain: I can ponder the nature of the multiverse while contributing to household “chores.”
My friend Paul loves washing dishes. When he visits, we can hardly keep him out of the kitchen as dinner draws to a close. Given his thoughtful nature, I suspect Paul is thinking as he works.
Most people reading these words do not have a staff to assist with the cooking and cleaning. We are therefore responsible for taking care of ourselves and the homes we are privileged enough to occupy.
Considering the amount of time most of us “toil” at mundane tasks, it seems likely most of us will die either in the midst of such activity or having recently completed the same. Perhaps one of us will experience the trifecta of the mundane by (1) dying in the midst of taking out the trash as (2) we anticipate putting dirty clothes in the washing machine while (3) covered in filth from cleaning the toilet.
In other words, your last time at doing anything — at doing everything — will happen. It will happen in the not-too-distant future. How you choose to perform your final acts is an indication of your character, as well as your willingness to contribute to your (very) local human community.
With a little effort, you can make the mundane bearable. With a little more effort, you can live mindfully and enjoy the tasks that bring misery to some people.
Dear prospective supporters,
I am working with a small group of organizers to create a spring speaking tour along the Pacific coast of the United States. It will include the area between the San Francisco Bay Area in California and Portland, Oregon. The tentative schedule has me starting in the Bay Area in mid-April, 2019 and using personal automobiles and the AmTrak train to proceed from there to Portland in early May, 2019.
My existing supporters, organizers, and hosts need additional support to make this tour happen. Can you help?
We need hosts in several locations, including Monterey, San Francisco, the East Bay, Marin County, Ashland, and Eugene. Hosting is needed for speaking venues as well as housing for me and my partner and videographer Pauline along the route. We are also requesting financial support to cover airfare and local travel expenses.
As you probably know, I never charge for my events and I rely entirely on the generosity of folks like you to continue spreading this important message. If you are willing to assist, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will work with the tour organizers to put your generous support to good use.
Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Kevin Hester and Guy McPherson. To listen live, tune in the first Tuesday of each month at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here. We’re on Stitcher, too.
Please help us out by sending your comments, questions, and prospective guests to Kevin at email@example.com. We welcome your toll-free call during the broadcast: 888.874.4888 (from outside the United States, the unreliable number is 0116055625119).
McPherson, Guy R. 2018. Only Love Remains: Dancing at the Edge of Extinction. Woodthrush Productions, New York.
McPherson, Guy R. 2019. Revised Second Edition of Going Dark. Woodthrush Productions, New York.
Pauline Panagiotou Schneider and Guy R. McPherson. 2018. Revised Second Edition of Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time. Woodthrush Productions, New York.
Mugs, tote bags, iPhone cases, tee shirts, and other pragmatic goods affiliated with the latter book are available here. I do not earn money from these items. Indeed, they have returned far less money than it cost to create and distribute them. I list them at the bottom of posts in this space in support of my artistically inclined partner, who created them.