Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tick Tock, Drip Drop

I've written before about time, and about how suffering for 25 minutes works for me. (Thanks, Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project.) It still works for me. Doing the taxes this year has been far less difficult (one country down, one to go). I maintain some knowledge of the complex financial tapestry that is my life, 25 minutes a week (Money Monday). I've worked through nearly all my photos and have a list the length of my arm of other projects to assign to a day.

Little bits of time add up. Recently, I noticed that process in reverse.

The other day, I used the last coffee filter in the package. (Yes, we use paper coffee filters. We're quirky geezers in some ways, and dadburnit, we like our paper coffee filters. Also our traditional 12-cup coffee makers.)

The last coffee filter: one of those moments I wasn't sure would ever occur, which is why I noticed it. We (I) go through a carton of milk in less than a week, so I'm always aware of the milk supply.* We buy coffee nearly every time we're in a grocery store, just because. But coffee filters?

two writers + working from home = a lot of coffee filters 

The thing is, coffee filters come in bargain packages of 450. At one pot of coffee a day, that's more than a year's supply. (Ha, one pot a day! Good one!! But even at 2 pots a day, it's still eight months' worth of filters.) That's a lot of filters. It feels like a lot of filters when you're buying them, at least.

One added benefit of buying coffee filters in bulk is that they aren't, uh, bulky. The bargain package can fit into the awkward corner cupboard into which little else fits and which is conveniently  located above the coffee maker.

So in my mind, we had tons of filters. In spite of the central role coffee plays in my life, I hadn't really paid attention to the steady dwindling of our supply until there it was, gone.

So, because this is what I think about, I started thinking about characters, the frog boiling in a pot of water, the camel and the straw. What is it that makes a person decide to start (25 minutes) or stop (coffee filters)? And then -- how does that person show it? What actions does that person take that shows the different way of thinking?

I set a timer every day. Every morning, I reach for a coffee filter. I suppose that someday, I might do neither thing. What do my characters do? What do they do next? What do they do differently? What does it take to make them change?

Obviously, it's time for a cup of coffee. Except that I'm out of milk.

* People here sell/buy milk in bags instead of those plastic gallon jugs. They put these bags into a plastic poury-jug-thing and serve from that. Bags! Seven years here, and I still can't do it.