inertia \i-ˈnǝr-shǝ\ n. a property of matter whereby it remains at rest or continues in uniform motion unless acted upon by some outside force
epic \ˈe-pik\ adj. extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope
I’m not a physicist, so I have never much pondered the uniform motion aspect of inertia. To me, inertia has always connotated the slothful inability to get moving. Which is where I am today…on an epic level. But why am I epically, slothfully immobile? It’s because of the epic inertia of the holiday season. There has been non-stop activity since before Thanksgiving. Go, go, go, plan, plan, plan, shop, shop, shop. And then on December 26 I stopped. By delicious deliberate choice, I did absolutely nothing on December 26 but sit by the fire and read.
And now I can’t get up.
There was an attempt on the 27th which resulted in a nap. And then, that evening, a vague ” I don’t feel well” which kept me lying in bed all day the 28th. The 29th I sipped ginger ale and chicken soup and gently did laundry. The 30th I woke up hungry and attempted raisin bread, which my body begrudgingly accepted.
My sister thinks it’s psychosomatic, that I’m reacting to continued holiday festivities. I’m willing to hear her out because she herself has been demonstrating negative inertia on two tasks: cleaning her office and calling me to help plan Mom’s 80th birthday party. That she called three days before the party showed evidence of some epic procrastination. In order to avoid calling me, she even attempted to organize her office, but that was so tedious that calling me seemed like the lesser of two evils.
Epic is the operative word here. Like the little engine that could, the thought of getting started and chugging up that mountain is an agonizing thought. I think I can, I think I can…no, I can’t.
I’m gonna blame it on Dad. He’s not here to defend himself. Seven years ago, my siblings threw a 50th anniversary party for our parents. It was really nice in the midst of a year full of weddings and graduations and anniversaries. And Dad pronounced it good.
“Epic!” he said through joyful tears. “This is epic!”
In a normal family, “epic” would mean a once in a lifetime event. In our highly competitive, anxiety ridden, over-achieving family, “epic” means “this is the new standard.” This is why my sister-in-law is still recovering from her daughter’s September wedding. It was epic.
This is also why my daughter, in a post-partum struggle, was insulted when her doctor told her she would be a perfectly average mother. “Average? Did he just call me average?”
Yeah. Average. It’s okay. This Christmas I actually did less shopping than usual, relieved of the need to provide an epic Christmas for everyone. Guess what? Christmas was really nice.
I am capable of putting together a large party blind-folded with one hand behind my back and the other hand holding a cane. Surely I can handle a few party-platters from Wegman’s. The outside force of people showing up at my house in two days begins to operate. I slowly get off my duff (which is also reaching epic proportions) and gently start moving (because not all of my inertia is psychosomatic). By Tuesday, forward motion should be propelling me with some positive inertia. Who knows, maybe Wednesday will actually find me ready to be back at work.