I wonder if I can do justice to the rather bizarre conversation I had last night with a friend (who would rather remain anonymous, for reasons that will become patently clear as this piece continues) about her tendency to be lazy.
It all started as we crunched our delicious after dinner apple quarters and my friend exclaimed, quite loudly, “It’s just too much work to chew gum.”
As you might imagine, the three of us sitting with her at the table were not convinced we’d heard properly.
“You’re too lazy to… chew gum? Is that what you said?” we asked, in unison and separately, our eyes wide, our jaws dropping.
“Yes, yes, of course. I mean, it’s a lot of work!” she replied, with admirable, if slightly misjudged candour. “It gets stuck in your teeth, you have to prise it out… you know, it’s work.”
We were silent. Dumbfounded. As Sogyal Rinpoche might say, wonderstruck.
“So, what else are you too lazy to do?” I asked, fascinated.
“Well, I don’t ever brush my hair. That’s work too, right?”
“OK,” I said, laughing, agog for more revelations. “And…?”
“Or wash my face. It saves a lot of money actually. I’m not one of those high maintenance women who have loads of luggage because I don’t have to pack face washes or ‘products’ or brushes. And anyway, I’m too lazy to have to deal with a lot of luggage.”
I had quickly run out of expressions of amazement, so instead asked, “Is there anything else that you’re too lazy to do?”
She thought for a bit, but was clearly struggling, so I asked, “How about cutting your nails. Do you, for example, cut your toe nails at all?”
“Oh, no!” she replied. “That’s really hard work!”
“So, how do you deal with nail growth?” I was almost afraid to ask.
“I peel the nails off when I notice they’re too long. It’s quite easy, actually.”
We then wandered through a list of personal hygiene rituals common to most living, breathing, civilized beings, discovering on the way that she plucks her armpits but not her eyebrows, brushes her teeth (which was a relief) and cleans her belly button (ditto).
So, things were going quite well until we rubbed up against the topic of going to the toilet, or ‘pooping’, as my friend prefers to describe dropping her load.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said, predictably. “I mean it’s really hard work, isn’t it!”
That’s not an easy statement to respond to.
“For a while, it just didn’t occur to me that people really had to poop, so I lay on a sofa for two weeks.”
“Having a poop is a big job!” she repeated, I think to emphasize her point. “You have to dedicate quite a big chunk of time to sitting on the pot and having a poop, don’t you?”
“So instead, you lay on a sofa for two weeks?” It was important, I felt, to clarify.
“And you didn’t poop at all?”
“No, it didn’t occur to me.”
“For two weeks!”
“Right! I mean, it’s hard work, isn’t it?”
“And how old were when this happened,” I asked, convinced her answer would put this particular exchange into some kind of manageable context.
“Twenty-one,” she smiled. “That’s not old, is it?”