Charlie’s Room: Fall Doldrums

Marianne and Charlie were working in the garden. Isaac was inside, trying to convince himself to get something done. So far, he wasn’t very successful. After lunch they were going to a local harvest festival, so he needed to get his to-do list done soon.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to do anything. He very much wanted to sit down with the mystery novel he was in the middle of reading. He wouldn’t say no to a nice cup of cocoa, either.

Unfortunately, he needed to do paperwork and dishes and vacuuming before lunchtime. Normally, each job wouldn’t take all that much time. He just couldn’t seem to get started.

Isaac didn’t mind dishes, and the sink wasn’t really all that full. Vacuuming was one of his favorite jobs. It was always such a zen moment to trace lines into the carpet and listen to the chant-like hum of the vacuum. As for the paperwork, well, normally he could at least sit down and power through it all.

Today he didn’t want to do any of it. He considered bribing himself with chapters of his book between chores. They didn’t seem any more appealing.

Maybe he needed a short nap before he started? Isaac changed into his pajamas and climbed into bed. He laid there and tried to shut his mind off. Nope. He wasn’t at all tired.

What was wrong?

He changed back into his clothes and made the bed. He wandered into the living room and looked out the front window. The street outside was lined with trees, and most of them were dressed in brightly colored leaves.

A gust of wind blew through the trees, and red and yellow leaves tumbled passed the window. He watched them twirl down the street. It was definitely fall.

Isaac snapped his fingers. Fall. That’s right. It was a time of year when nature slowed down, and Isaac had always been sensitive to that.

Unfortunately, at the same time as the world seemed to move more slowly, people sped up. There were so many holidays to prepare for. His schedule seemed to get so much busier this time of year. Maybe he was pushing himself too hard.

Could the tasks wait? Probably. But he really should make the attempt. Especially with the dishes, as they tended to pile up quickly.

With a sigh, he decided to at least start the chore. He called Cousin Reginald and worked while he listened to Reginald’s latest adventures. He finished the last dish as he listened to the story of Reginald’s annual protest at city hall for pumpkin rights.

He started vacuuming as Reginald sang the song he’d written that he was sure would be a critical success and ignored by the ignorant masses. He accompanied himself on his out of tune accordion. Isaac finished vacuuming at the same time Reginald’s very long song ended.

“Dissonance is so underappreciated. There really should be much, much more of it in modern music,” Reginald said.

“It certainly had a lot of dissonance,” Isaac agreed as he put the vacuum away.

“Were you humming in the background? It was a nice touch. I knew you would appreciate my work.”

Isaac decided not to mention the vacuum. “I’m always impressed by how much you manage to get done.”

“Well, it’s harder in the fall, of course. But I rebel against all of that. Changing seasons won’t keep me down! In fact, I think I’m going to go march through the local park to make sure all those fall leaves can see that they can’t stop me. Bye.”

Isaac put his phone away. There was just the paperwork left. He looked out the window. Brightly colored leaves flew passed the window. Were they watching him?

Maybe Cousin Reginald had the right idea. He grabbed the paperwork and brought it into the living room. He dumped it all on the coffee table and moved the table right in front of the window.

“Look at this,” he told the leaves. “I’m getting my chores done and you can’t stop me.”

It was kind of fun to be defiant, even if he was fairly certain the leaves didn’t care. Every time he finished filling something out, he held it up to the window. “Hah! I got this done, too!”

Sooner than he thought, he was done. He checked the clock. He had plenty of time before lunchtime, and nothing else he really needed to get done right now.

And so he curled up on the couch with cocoa and his mystery book. The leaves continued to pass by the window, but Isaac ignored them. Fall had no power over him today.