This year I'm not going to ...

by Miv Schaaf

I don't make New Year's resolutions. Yet it occurs to me that there may be something to be said for them after all. That is, if one made negative resolutions instead of positive ones, life's path might be a little clearer. Instead of saying what we will do in the coming year, we should say what we won't do.

What I'm talking about are all those things we Mean To Do. This is not going to be easy; dreams go down the drain with the same painful gloop with negative resolutions as with positive ones. But stalwart we will stand. Firmly we will grasp our hatchets, manfully or womanfully we will chop away at our dreams.

That chair, for instance, out behind the garage. It will take 80 solid hours to fix that chair properly (I would rather burn an old wicker chair than fix it improperly). In the foreseeable future I cannot imagine having 80 hours of time free to spend on that chair. If through some cataclysm or time warp 80 hours did present themselves to me whole and uneaten, I would not opt to spend them fixing this chair. It's a nice old chair, it deserves better, but I will not fix it. Ever. Let us cry a little and nobly ink it down as the first item on our negative resolution list.

The second item is that orphan kitchen table that has stood out here so many years waiting for me to attend to its ailments. It is true it is old pine; it is true it has a rather nice shape. It is true I will never fix it.

Here in the garage are those cane-seated chairs, or rather cane-seated chairs that no longer have cane in their seats. We were going to take a course in caning, weren't we, learn how to do it the right way, trot out to some crafty store and purchase the cane, soften, bend and weave each little strand into place -- bah humbug! Item No. 3.

Let us go quickly past the bookcase with the broken corner, we haven't quite given up on that yet.

Now on into the homemaker's realm. The linen closet -- what better place to start than the linen closet? We were going to color code the sheets, sew colored yarns on the edges -- pink for the big bed, purple for the middle-sized bed, yellow for the little beds. Aside from one jaunty purple tail of yarn wagging out from one sheet, our system has not progressed; the sheets are hopelessly jumbled. They will stay jumbled -- item No. 4.

In the bathroom are those crooked tiles. How many times have we pulled them up, scraped off the old mastic, recut them, buttered their little backs with new mastic and set them in again straight? A million times -- mentally. Will we ever do so physically? No.

Onward. Better drink some water. I'm supposed to drink 13 glasses, but 13 glasses a day is an awful lot of water. After 10 I begin to feel uncomfortably like a turtle sinking to the bottom of a pond. Dare I? Why not? I resolve not to try to drink more than 10 glasses of water a day.

Gosh, I'm always surprised to see myself in the mirror -- aren't you? -- thought I looked better than that. Should do something about my hair, suppose it's too short. But it feels so nice to have practically no hair and just run out the door after a shower and be about my business. I have no guarantee either that longer hair would make me all that more beautiful. The heck with it -- this year I resolve not to do anything about my hair.

Let's move on, lots of other things to resolve not to do. Oh, isn't it going to be a wonderful new year!


Miv Schaaf, a resident of Fieldbrook, wrote for the Los Angeles Times for 15 years.

Comments on this story? E-mail the Journal:

The North Coast Journal Table of Contents