I woke up this morning and decided I would have a day of being efficient. So I put on the washing machine, which is what I do when I'm being efficient, then I cleared some junk mail from my inbox and paid a bill. I wrote some emails, and then I wrote a list. I made coffee. I looked up where I'm supposed to be on Thursday. A man with eight children and two grandchildren, all of them boys, came and bought my old television (this doesn't happen every time I have an efficient day, ha ha). I read something that I wrote yesterday, and started writing. Then the washing machine stopped.
And so did I. I've heard of seasonal affective disorder, which is where you - I - get grumpier in winter, but I never realised that I'm on the same cycle as my own washing machine. That does make a kind of sense, though. I put it on, which makes me feel that I'm being efficient, and then it rumbles along in the background while I work (we'll call it "work", if you don't mind). Then the machine stops and by then I'm so used to having it there in the background that I also switch off. The house is still. But for the faint sound of this laptop, and the occasional thump of that hammer, it's silent.
I remember, many years ago, there came into our lives a heavy blue plastic box, roughly hand-sized. If one of us pressed the button, it produced a deep, resonant, thumping heartbeat. Edgar Allan Poe would have loved it. I remember, from around that time, many conversations about the challenge of getting babies to sleep - they like noise, movement, deep, resonant, thumping heartbeats. Maybe it isn't just babies. Maybe I should try writing with the Hoover roaring in the background (that worked, all those years ago), or maybe I should just get all my laundry done?