Frustrations and low-hanging fruits

It’s been a week of frustrations on many fronts, which means my reading has gone out of the window. And I’ve also done very little preparation for the board exam. It doesn’t help that the Health Professions Council are incompetent. What’s so difficult about accepting an internet payment rather than a direct deposit? Two other frustrations: the geyser burst at my house in Joburg and I found out that I need to take a work trip to the hot-as-hell and remote town of Upington. And then I also agreed to do a freelance piece for the Belgians.

But since my mantra is “one step at a time”, I am trying to follow it. Reminds me of some business advice I read once that we should pick the low-hanging fruits first. In other words, don’t try for the fancy stuff while there are simple tasks you can accomplish in the meantime. Simple, basic advice which I would do well to follow. So no considered blog posts from me for a while until I get some progress on the low-hanging fruits. If I could just find the orchard and the trees that is.

Very limited options on the job front and I haven’t sent off my applications to those limited options yet either. One of the frustrations is just getting people to act as a referee. The one academic that I want to be my referee is notoriously bad about responding to emails and I’m too scared to call her. I guess I could always send an SMS (text message) instead.

On the plus side, we saw Revolutionary Road yesterday and Kate W and Leo were very good. I liked the mental patient’s insights as well. The problems of 1950s couples seem quite dated nowadays (but also still relevant). But it’s interesting to see how women’s options have changed with the times. I thought the part about sanity and insanity was well done – and I see that the novel by Richard Yates got good reviews.

We also saw the promo for “Benjamin Button” and I wasn’t convinced but I could see that P would like to see this one anyway. “What did you think of Forest Gump?” I asked, remembering how much DoctorDi had hated it.
“I liked it,” she said. Hmmm. “Well then I guess you’ll like this one as well. I suppose there’s no harm in checking it out for ourselves.” I’m pretty sure I won’t like it – and the concept just seems daft to me (he gets younger rather than older) – but sometimes it’s good to have one’s misgivings confirmed. But maybe that’s a bit like seeing that you’re going to hit your head against a brick wall and going ahead with it anyway, just to confirm that it really is not pleasant to have a brick-induced headache.

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9 Responses to Frustrations and low-hanging fruits

  1. Natalian says:

    Hi, my name is Natalian and I am a Procrastinator. I have been procrastinating for mmm… most of my life so thanks for the “low hanging fruits” techinique! I’ll try anything! I actually have a post in my drafts about my procrastination which I still have to finish! Ridiculous! I know! Will miss your posts while you are looking for that orchard with it’s trees but I know you will feel a whole lot less frustrated once you start attacking your list of things to accomplish!

  2. Bee says:

    Pete, I’m going to try and remember your advice about the “low hanging fruits.” Tackle the easy tasks first – definitely.

    I hope you can sort out some of these nagging worries this next week. I’ve always hated asking for references, too . . . and job-hunting, for that matter!

    I read Revolutionary Road this summer; the movie hasn’t been released here yet. Even though the options have certainly opened up, in terms of ways to be married and child-care, I think that it is very, very easy to fall into “roles” and then realize that you are living very separate lives. Another issue is that desire to be special and wonderful and unique . . . and then (for some) the crushing realization that we are (most of us) mediocre and predicatable.

    Several of my friends in the U.S. have seen Benjamin Button and LOVED it — if that helps. It certainly swept the Academy Award nominations. We are hoping to catch up on movie-going on Sunday. There are always so many good movies at this time of year . . . and then almost NOTHING in the summer.

  3. litlove says:

    Nice idea about low-hanging fruit. My eye is always drawn to the really perfect-looking one, halfway up, dangling from a dangerously insecure branch. You know how it goes. And I’m looking forward to reading the novel before seeing the film of Revolutionary Road. I’m expecting it to be very interesting.

  4. I don’t know–I always try for the low hanging fruit and get stuck. It never turns out as good as I think and I just end up going higher. It’s just my fate to reach for the higher fruit. I fall a lot while climbing the damn tree. But at some point I find a ladder and it works.

  5. Pete says:

    (chorus) Hi Natalian! Haha, I can see why Procrastinators Anonymous wouldn’t really take off (unless it was on the blog). Will be interested to read your procrastinating piece when it’s done 😉

    Bee – Thanks. Button sounds like a movie you either love or hate. Maybe P will love it and I will hate it! As for Yates’s novel, I like your take on it. Quite depressing about the mediocre bit but perhaps that’s judging ourselves by external standards. And it would have been interesting to see him develop Alice’s crisis rather than choose the (fairly) neat ending that he did.

    Litlove – Maybe it’s not an either-or. Picking the low fruit first and picking the higher ones thereafter. If you’re feeling up for the perfect-looking one way up there then I say you should go for it! Will be interested to hear your view on Revolutionary Road (the novel and the film).

    Lilian – I admire your persistence and that’s a good line: “It’s just my fate to reach for the higher fruit.” Sounds like a germ of a story right there. Speaking of which, I see from your blog that The River Midnight might be available in South Africa. How exciting! It’s going to the top of my to-be-ordered pile.

  6. doctordi says:

    I definitely covet the higher-hanging fruit. Hence the perpetually scraped knees and busted lip.

    Pete, many people just looove that Benjamin Button (13 Oscar nominations?! THIRTEEN? I bet one of them is for that stupid CGI mockingbird). My cinephile friend was talking to someone she swims with over the weekend, and the woman welled up and started howling mid-sentence. Cinephile thought something terrible must have happened, so she began comforting her, and eventually asked what was wrong, and the woman apologised and said she just can’t think about it [BB] without getting emotional… This makes me positively reel (and retch), but there it is. You HAVE to tell us what you think, I’m dying to know.

  7. Pete says:

    Di – What is it with dumb movies and Oscars? I was reading a blogger yesterday (can’t remember the name though) who listed the last 20 Best Movie Oscar-winners and basically said how dumb most of them were. I wouldn’t go that far but am cringing at the thought of this one. Will definitely let you know.

  8. doctordi says:

    And as far as this movie goes, Pete, believe me, I’m on the edge of my seat for the very first time!

  9. Effendi says:

    Well, just don’t forget what they say about low-hanging fruit – it always rots first.

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