Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Job, Well, Done

Yesterday, I washed a few of our house’s windows, inside and out. The second-floor rear even required that I use a ladder, which I had to pull from its inconvenient storage spot and put back when I was done. The cleaned-up panes look pretty good, but they’re not perfect: when the sun shines through, you can still see a fair number of streaks.

I thought about redoing the work, but then decided the heck with it. The thing is, the windows look better than they did before and another cleaning will only improve them incrementally. Even if I go through the trouble of another round of Windex and newspaper, there will still be a few streaks and even if there aren’t, that level of perfection won’t last past the first rain.

So, I’m satisfied with a job, well, done.

I’ve long believed that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. Lots of times what matters is to just do the thing, to go through the motions, to simply show up. This isn’t to say that there aren’t occasions when extra effort is called for, but it seems to me that much of the time, what’s adequate is adequate.

Last night, Mimi and I watched two hours of Simpson’s episodes, an evening that won’t be featured prominently on my Parent of the Year application. On the other hand, she got fed with relatively healthy food—cream cheese with grape tomato halves on rye crisp crackers—we didn’t argue very much, and bedtime eventually arrived without a great deal of controversy.

It wasn’t a perfect night, but it worked.

The worry, I suppose, is that I’ll come to be satisfied with whatever, and so won’t do anything, but I’m not too worried about that.

The upside of having low standards is that most tasks become less daunting. If you know you’re going to be satisfied with whatever you do, then it’s relatively easy to be motivated to do things.


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