Breaking Up (The Day) Is So Very Hard To Do

by Bill Brenner on March 15, 2012

When you have the OCD blinders on, you can do the work of three highly-motivated people. You can go for hours and hours, your ass sinking into the seat like an anvil. The problem is that your muscles and mind are a tangled wreck when you stand up many hours later.

Mood music:

Any doctor or therapist will tell you to get up every 25 minutes or so and walk around for a bit. Maybe go eat lunch outside on a nice day instead of at the desk. They call this breaking up the day.

I suck at it. Always have.

So when I was asked to participate in a program where I would read to a second-grader at a school near the office once a week, I groaned. I didn’t want to do it. It would mean I had to stop what I was doing and go, whether I felt ready or not.

But I try to be a team player. So I signed up.

Every week, it’s the same feeling. I’m hauling ass on a project, and 11 a.m. rolls around. Time to get up and go read. I tell myself there’s a few more minutes to work. It’s usually 11:45 before I get up.

With no traffic, that would be fine. But there’s always traffic on this route because of all the traffic lights and a busy mall. So I get to the school a few minutes late.

Then I go in and meet up with the second-grader I’ve been assigned. His name is Luis. He has spiky blond hair and dark skin. He’s a very cool-headed little guy. Nothing seems to get him excitable. He lunchbox is always packed with chips, tacos and cheese in a box and something for dessert. He always eats the desert first. While he eats, I read. They call this the Power Lunch.

He likes the lighthearted stuff: The “Magic Tree House” series, the “Ricky Ricotta and His Mighty Robot” books, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “The Adventures of Captain Underpants.”

Occasionally, I get him to pick a biography. Always about a sports legend. I’d try to turn him on to bios about politicians and rock stars, but there are none in the bin.

When he can’t listen anymore, we’ll play a game or two of Tic Tac Toe.

I like the kid a lot. I always admire the people who don’t get rattled. There are other kids in the group that bounce off the walls. One of my co-workers — a young, geeky type of guy — has the rowdiest kid of the bunch, which amuses me to no end. The boy is also one of Luis’ best buddies, so he spends a lot of time looking at our table, contemplating ways to get out of his seat and come over.

The whole thing takes 30 minutes a week. It goes by fast. And I always walk out of there with a smile.

Then the next reading day rolls around, and I repeat the process.

Thing is, I’m glad I decided to do this. It’s rarely convenient, but that’s the OCD talking. As I said earlier, I don’t like having to get up when I’m engrossed in a task.

But I do it anyway. And I’m better for it.

I guess the doctors and therapists aren’t full of shit after all.

I got a reward for my efforts too. Luis made me a card thanking me for reading to him. It warms the heart.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anne March 16, 2012 at 1:55 am

What a wonderful program. I’m sure Luis and the others appreciate those weekly visits more than they show. And what kid at that age doesn’t eat dessert first?! (And what a pain in the ass this comment form is … this is my third and final attempt.)

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