I woke up overwhelmed this morning. I have to vacate the apartment in three days of work. There's still a lot of stuff remaining. I walk to the living room to pack stuff, on the way there I remember I have to reschedule the junk truck, as I come back to my computer to do this I see the desk and I remember I have to follow up on the email I sent the auction place. That sort of overwhelm.

The astute reader will tell me "just write down what you need to do, cross it out when it's done". Our minds have very little RAM and that's why different tasks are vying to be the priority. I don't work like that, if I were to write a lists of all the things I have to do, it would increase rather than decrease my mental juggling.

Reschedule the move

The good thing about writing lists is priority. There are some time sensitive tasks that are better addressed now rather than later. For example, the junk truck is coming on Thursday evening, but I will move it to Friday evening because the landlord allowed me to stay over the weekend (but I want to have the apartment empty by then). Let's do just that.

Ah, when you enter action is when you notice you have unresolved dependencies. The building requires me to book a move-in or move-out so that the elevator can be blocked and there's not two tenants moving at the same time. I will go downstairs to speak with the doorman about this.

I'm back. That was super important for me to do and it even gave me an extra day to move. The building already has a move on Friday so the truck will come on Saturday.

A brief anecdote

Yesterday a black man came with his wife. She pointed at three pieces of furniture that she wanted, but they would have to make two trips because it wouldn't fit in their car. The man came back alone hours later for the second trip. His English was broken but we understood each other fine.

He said "you know English is not my first language right?" and I knew what he meant: he thought I spoke better French than he did English, so we should switch to French. I chuckled and explained "Oh man I wish I could speak French, but I grew up in Mexico and I only know the very basics of French.

Saying this dispelled a seriousness out of the situation. He thought I was a stubborn anglophone from Westmount and he was making an effort to accommodate my language preferences, and he was probably expecting me to also put a little bit of effort to meet in the middle. As soon as it was clear why that was happening the tension dissipated and he was friendly instead of serious.

Here the government encourages the use of French. Anglophones feel this is an affront, and refuse to speak it. Then tension arises. It's probably necessary to encourage the use of French to counter decades of English priority, and the best outcome is that the population is bilingual. It sort of works out this way, but people are divided and angry about it. How do you convince a stubborn anglophone or francophone that learning the other language is in their best interest?

I might as well be writing this for myself. I have made almost no effort in learning french. I usually say pardon, je ne parle français but what I actually mean is j'aimerais pouvoir parler français mais je ne parle que l'anglais et l'espagnol (from Google Translate: I wish I could speak french but I only speak english and spanish). That's a mouthful to memorize right now. I'll write it down on a piece of paper and carry it in my pocket. Done.

* Getting into the flow *

Writing about what you are doing helps you get things started and organized, but at a certain point it is just overhead. I'll leave what I'm writing right now because my hazy mind cleared up and I pretty much know what to do, I know it will be boring, and I know writing about it will just get in the way, so I'll put myself to action.