Monday, December 19, 2011

One of These Days

Iris says, "Yeah, I really have to google that and see if it's going to work for me."

I say, "Why is it that whenever anyone says, 'I really have to' about something, it's the last thing they're going to do?"

Iris laughs. "Hmmm... How many weeks have I been saying it?"

"Pretty much ever day since Thanksgiving."

"Yeah, I really have to do something about that."

We laugh.

Then I realize that I'd not meant my question rhetorically. I mean, there was a statement in it and all, but I still wonder why so many activities that merit imperatives (have to, need to, got to, must) are activities that once mandated never take place.


OK, I get it as a passive-resistant tactic to avoid conflict. "Yeah, I really gotta do that some day" sounds like you're in agreement when what you're really saying is, "Would you just stop bothering me with this!" However, conflict-avoidance can't be the only reason, can it? There must be other motivations.

Perhaps it's a keep-alive, an incantation that won't necessarily lead to completion of the activity, but will keep it from fading into the milieux of would-haves and could-haves that clutter our lives. As long as I keep saying, "One of these days..." I'll keep alive the hope that one of these days may actually come.

That makes sense for things that are nice-to-haves or would-be-funs (I guess), but I'm not sure about imperatives. I must do this, seems to merit more than a keep-alive, right?

Maybe I've misinterpreted the phrases 'need to', 'gotta' and 'have to'; perhaps in the vernacular they imply something other than imperative? Like... um... like... OK, if they're not imperative, what are they?

I'm going to stick with them being imperatives (of sorts), but assume that they're invocation reflects some kind of internal conflict, a clash of the imperatives. "I gotta, but I can't because..."

Hmm... this has potential. If it's a conflict of imperatives, then it can be pretty easy to ferret out a solution. First thing is to identify the cause behind the because: ...because I can't afford it right now. ...because they'd never let me do it. ...because I'm too busy. ...because I first gotta get into shape (ooh, there's another because behind that one.)

It would seem that once you unearth a core cause behind the conflicting imperative, you could evaluate it to see if 1) it is indeed an imperative, and 2) if it's really more important than the imperative that it's precluded.

What do you gotta do some day?

Happy Monday,

PS If you're not sure, you might ask people around you. They may have a long list of your one-of-these-days aspirations.

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