Sometimes I feel my inner world is stalked by a demented time-and-motion watchdog.
I remember when we were children my brother got hold of the notion of time-and-motion study and we had a hilarious few weeks trying to dry the dishes in the most effective way, but it is dismaying that a harmless experiment seems to have imbedded itself in my psyche. My sister and I were talking about the long term effects of the Puritan ethic, and I joked that even making a cup of tea, I try to use the most economical movements and to develop a pattern of optimal effort. ”SO DO I!” she said.
Now it might well make sense while I’m sewing, especially sewing in quantity. I tend to do all the French seams in a batch, then all the hems, and I have just finished marking all the buttonholes for a dozen items. It actually seems to be quicker. But never leaving a room with my hands empty? Doubling up on every task? This is going to lead to a twitchy old age.
Eco-consciousness is another complication. Since I was raised in Australia I am already light-years ahead of most Californians in reducing water-wastage, but when I walk through the house snapping off lights it is misunderstood by my dear ones, especially if they are trying to read. We don’t throw food away, but it takes constant effort not to be the human garbage pail myself.
Just look at that picture, the essence of happy childhood. Who would guess time and motion was simmering underneath? How do we escape our conditioning?