Me: “Hey. I’m Kathryn….and I’m a procrastinator.”
Group: “Hi, Kathryn.”
Me: “I’d planned on attending this meeting a lot sooner …like, maybe in the spring when it wouldn’t be so damned hot. Did anyone notice there’s not one parking spot out there with any shade whatsoever? Do the planning people have something against trees? I would definitely look into this…but it’s probably too late now, with it being already summer and so hot and all…”
Group: “Hi, Kathryn.”
Me: “Sorry. TMI? I guess I’m here to see if there’s a pill or something that I can take to…you know, kind of speed through all the things I don't want to do? But, none of that behavioral-modification crap…that psychological babble never worked on me. You can check with my last fourteen therapists…and besides, there’s always something else I needed to do around the time they wanted me to ‘practice my techniques’.
Group Leader: “There are no easy fixes for the issues you’ve described. There are usually complex reasons, possibly relating as far back as early childhood that could be contributing to your inability to address your day-to-day challenges in a timely and effective way.”
Me: “I’m sorry…..what? (Glances anxiously at group) Did anyone understand what he just said?”
Entire group begins to mumble incoherently…shuffles their feet…half stare at the floor, the other half are already mentally counting the ceiling tiles in earnest.
Group Leader: (Sighs) “No, Kathryn…there is no anti-procrastination pill. You have to work hard to change the behavior that’s preventing you from reaching your goals.”
Me: “What about something like Red Bull? I’ve had a 4-pack in the back of my fridge for about a year now. I’ve been meaning to move it to the front where I’ll remember it’s there. It seems like when I do remember it’s like, after dinner and then I’m afraid I won’t be able to sleep that night.”
White-haired woman in front row with half the bottom of her floral skirt un-hemmed: “Well, why do you believe giving yourself more energy will make you less of a procrastinator? Are you lazy? Anemic? Easily distracted? Unable to properly prioritize the important from the mundane?”
Me: “Uh. No…I don’t know…sometimes…and define ‘mundane’. And I figure if I have bucketloads of excess energy, I’m bound to get more done. It’s the law of averages. And speaking of averages, are you aware that 50% the hem on that skirt is flapping in the breeze there, missy?”
White-haired woman: “Yes, dear. That’s why I’m here. I’m aware of my procrastinative-limitations. I considered it a major step-forward when my therapist suggested I wear the garment on a daily basis in an effort to fuel the desire to finish the task for which I'd begun back in 1966."
Me: “Huh. Well, how's that working out for you? I do believe I saw a stapler on someone's desk down the hall...we could fix you right up.Staples are really an underutilized, misunderstood office supply.”
White-haired woman: (Unconsciously fingers the frayed edges of her vintage skirt, eyes misting up...while nodding vigorously) “Amen to that, sista.”
Counselor: “What made you finally decide to attend a meeting today?”
Me: “I saw a show on The National Geographic Channel…are you aware that they’re now calling it ‘Nat Geo’? Was that the best they could come up with to shorten the name? They couldn’t have tried ‘NG’, or better yet…how about ‘The Nat G’….I think it has a much hipper ring to it. 'I was hanging with my homies watching The Nat G, man...I got an airtight alibi'. Sounds good, right?"
Counselor: (Makes universal-circle-movement for ‘move it along’) “Point?”
Me: “That I'd watched several drug busts on the show before? And oh yeah: One show explained how fast the world as we know it would fall apart if the world’s oil supply just…vanished one day. Of course, they never explained how something like that could just….ya know, happen…so, we have to assume it was purely to freak the bejezus out of everyone.”
Group: (In unison) “KATHRYN. POINT?”
Me: “FINE. In this scenerio, the moment people realized gasoline was becoming scarce, they raced to the pumps in a futile effort to fill their tanks at like, $17.00 a gallon. When the gas ran out and trucks couldn’t deliver food, people raced to the stores to stock up. I’m just suggesting that if we go to Costco now and buy several 24 packs of baked beans, a gross of Doritos and maybe some cases of canned tuna, we’d be way ahead of all the other procrastinators…'cause that stuff probably has a shelf life of like, 10 years...and then I guess the whole pill/Red Bull-thing would be moot, anyway. Just thought I'd throw it out there...it'd be a breakthrough for all of us, don't you think?"
Counselor: “Meeting dismissed. Kathryn? I have a list of therapists I’d like you to contact.”
Me: “I'm sorry…weren’t you listening? I’m going to be very, very busy. Maybe in a couple of months…I think I'm low on gas...”