There's a scene in Anne Tyler's THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST where the protag, who's gone into safe mode after too much emotional pain, starts doing odd things to accomplish daily tasks. My favorite is that he washes his clothes as he bathes, throwing them on the shower floor and sloshing them around with his feet.

Of course there's Kramer on SEINFELD, who prepares salad in the shower as an efficiency task.

I fear that if I were alone very often or very long, I would become like them, giving up Civilization and succumbing to the lure of Easy. Prepare meals? Why, when there's a carton of ice cream in the freezer. Dust? Only if someone calls to say they're coming over. Change clothing? Not necessary more than once a week, except the really basic stuff.

I could easily find myself staying up late some nights and going to bed at 8:30 on others. Rising at 3:15 or sleeping till 7:00. Leaving the dishes in the sink several nights a week. It bothers me when I get up in the morning and they're there, but not enough to worry about it the night before.

I guess what I'm thinking here is that my husband is a civilizing influence, though he doesn't know it. Just having someone else around pulls me into a schedule, a desire to get things done.

And I thought I'd civilized him!

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Comment by Dana King on July 14, 2009 at 3:27am
I was laid off for almost a year when the dot com bubble burst. MY hygiene didn't suffer (and my weight dropped off thanks to long daily walks), but my sleep schedule evolved dramatically. Sometimes in bed at 3:00 Am and up at noon, sometimes in bed at midnight and up at 5:00. I shopped for groceries at 6:30 AM a couple of times. I truly became someone who slept when he was sleepy and ate when he was hungry. There were a lot of bad things about being out of work (no money comes to mind), but my schedule wasn't one of them. That was when I learned to be a conscientious writer and reader, got into shape, spent a lot of time with my daughter and generally stayed so busy I had a hard time accommodating my schedule when I got a job again.

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