Feeling a bit pressed for time is causing me to think about the idea of obligations. Between now and November 3rd (it was November 4th, but I will now be working on that day, so the deadline has been pushed back) I have to finish the table runner and my fact-checking assignment and get my house clean enough for guests.

That is two and a half weeks, so one would think that would be plenty of time, but there are all these ongoing things, like a full-time job and a couple of choirs and a class and a family and a household and the gym and holidays to prepare for. So it may be enough time, but it is not plenty of time.

So I was looking at my to-do list and considering what could be shunted off to make more room for sewing and scrubbing. Certainly I can toss out all the little challenges I take up just for fun, like the KALs and this month’s SWAP piece. And this caused me to think about the virtual and real-world conversations I have been having about obligations.

Now, I am not one who would prefer not to have any obligations and to do whatever I felt like at any given moment. Sure, if I had Jeeves or Bunter looking after me that would be fine. But without certain knowledge that someone else was taking care of everything that needed to be done, I would not be able to relax and enjoy my leisure. I would know that I would be paying for it in the future when there was no food in the house or guests had to pick their way through dirty laundry or the electricity was shut off. The sad, shocked faces of my family when they discovered that I had not made arrangements for all the things I normally do for them would haunt me. I would have to race around at the last minute opening cans to feed guests. I would have to suffer through the entire process of getting back to the gym after a hiatus. I would have to turn out the lights and hide when the trick or treaters came. It is less trouble to do the work in the first place than to deal with the consequences of not doing it.

But it seems to me that we do take on unnecessary obligations along with our real ones. The obligation they have been discussing over at Ozarque’s, to do our best to look like women in magazines. The obligation to match the holiday or wedding preparations shown in magazines. The obligation to jump in and help or care for people who might benefit from looking after themselves a little. Competitive child-rearing, conspicuous consumption, and keeping up with celebrity gossip.

This isn’t all my own list. I may be The Slave of Duty, but I don’t feel ashamed of my lack of knowledge about celebrities. Although I was updated last night on why people are currently angry with Madonna, and as soon as I grasped that it was the singer we were talking about, I was totally in favor of her supporting that orphanage. And grateful to my friend for waiting for me to catch up during the spell where I thought she was telling me about an art-related miracle of some kind.

Okay. Back to scrubbing and sewing.