What I Do

A woman’s response to the piece Who I am by Demetri Martin in the Feb. 28th issue of The New Yorker a few years ago.

I do many things. I do one thing. I do things you do not even know about. What I do is everything I can do given the circumstances, even though some people (who I suspect do less than I do) hint that I am really doing nothing.

I am doing something I should have done a long time ago. I am hanging up the curtains that have been sitting in my bedroom for three months. I am going to be very careful as I climb up on the window sill because if I’m not, I will not be able to do anything else for a long time and a lot of people depend on my doing a lot of things.

I do what every woman does which is more than I should. I do it all the time. I do it every day, every hour and I do what I can do to keep the resentment just below the surface of my doing. Doing otherwise would make the doing un-doable.

I am crossing things off my to do list. I am doing my groceries online. I am doing my research online. I am doing my bills online. For the record, I do not know how anyone got anything done before the Internet. The Internet is like a big doing engine. It makes my doing greater and more infinite. It seems like this doing thing could go on and on and on.

I am doing just fine thank you for asking, but really I am not doing so well if you must know, because I feel like there are just too many things to do. I sometimes feel tired trying to do all of these things but if I don’t do them, what would I do instead? I take my doing job seriously but sometimes all I can do is laugh.

I am doing a phone call with my client now because I do not have enough things to do. I know she will happily give me more things to do that she does not want to do or things that she wants to do but does not have enough money to do. I will take her to-do handouts gladly and then I will ask her for even more things to do because that’s just what I do.

There are things that I do not do.

I do not do Dallas or Des Moines, although for six years I did do Denver. According to my thirteen year old, I do not get “it”. I do not understand what “it” is and so I guess he is right. According to my husband, I do not do “it” enough and I am quite sure he is talking about a different “it.” I also do not know how to say no to my five year old’s request for ice cream at 9PM. In part, because sometimes ice cream is exactly what is needed at 9PM on a school night. I do not pretend to be super good at this parenting thing that I try to do everyday.

I do not call my mother enough even though it is an easy thing to do. I do not know why. According to my therapist/coach/counselor, I do not take care of myself because I’m always doing things for other people. Except for my mother who I do not do enough for in my opinion. I do feel badly about this. And despite evidence to the contrary, I do not have huge issues with my mother. Although I do not think my therapist/coach/counselor agrees with this assessment. I do hope at $175/hour that we get to the bottom of it soon.

I do not delegate my work because every time I do, the thing that needs to get done doesn’t get done the right way and then I end up doing it anyway. I do not like to give up control of the things that need to be done. No one, it seems, knows how to do anything these days. I do not like to be right about this one particular point. In fact, I wish I were wrong. I would not have to do so many things over.

I do not have time to read The New Yorker even though my husband says it is the right thing to do and worth it if you have the time to do it. I do want to do the right thing so desperately that I’d do almost anything.

Someday I want to do nothing but the things that make me happy to do. I think that place is probably Heaven but I do not want to go there yet so I’ll do something else for a while.

I do dream about what it would be like to do less. I do believe that less is more but more always seems to be getting in the way of doing less. I do wonder if all I’m doing is just doing things because I don’t want to do something more important.

I do have regrets. One in particular, but I do not want to tell you what it is because I do not want to cry and deep down I still do not know why I did it. It was not the right thing to do and all the doing in the world will not make it go away.

I do what I do because what I do is who I am and who I am sometimes feels like no more than the sum of what I do. I do not think I really believe this. I think that possibly I am much more than this but I do not know what to do about it. Frankly, what I do is none of your business. And I do not want to talk about it any more. I think we both know that I have better things to do.

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