“Just watch where you’re walking when you come home,” Kit said, “the dog does her business all over the lawn, so watch your feet.”
We’re looking after Kit’s dog and house while she’s on holiday for a few weeks. Much as we love living in the city, we’re enjoying the opportunity to live closer to the sea, and working so much online, we can do this easily.
If you’ve listened to the last two podcasts, you’ll have heard the dog snuffle, snort and woof her way into the recording. We promised to stick with her routine, so she also sleeps by our bed, snoring throughout the night.
Routines. How many routines do you go through, stick with, live by, each day?
Looking after someone else’s home – and dog – means changing your routines, questioning the way you habitually do things, finding new ways.
Which brings me back to the poo-laden lawn. For three weeks we did exactly as we had been instructed. Whenever we came home, we parked the car, opened the garden gate, and stepped gingerly across the lawn. We put a flashlight in the car to help when we came back after dark. No matter how often we cleared up behind the dog, she randomly and abundantly deposited her little piles of poo to welcome us home.
We were so focussed on carrying out Kit’s instructions to the letter – following her lawn-tiptoeing routine every time we came home – that it was only yesterday that I saw the light: right by the car parking place there’s a little fence, so small that all we have to do is step over it onto the nice, clean, poo-clear brick pathway that leads all the way to the front door. No lawn, no watching our feet, no poo worries.
How easy is that? The moral of this waking life story? We follow routines and focus on daily habits for the strangest reasons, many of which leave us blind to an easier way. Far from making our lives easier, routines can complicate matters, leading us the long way through … well, I’ll leave you to contemplate the metaphor.