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Pia Hansen: Christmastime procrastination can be a gift

Sat., Dec. 1, 2007, midnight

I‘m a born procrastinator. I’ve never asked my parents, but I’m sure whatever a baby can procrastinate I did, as soon as I was born. I know I was colicky and cried for three months straight – who knows what I was holding out for at such an early age?

You’d think that for someone who makes a living being on deadline – and actually rarely misses one – procrastination would be deadly, but I seem to make it.

And I don’t even have elevated blood pressure.

In high school I wrote essays the night before they were due.

I’ve crammed up until the last second for every single test I’ve ever taken – high school, college, driving, all of them. It’s not like I didn’t study along the way, I always did, but I guess I need that last second of gut-wrenching panic to get something good going.

Public speaking, morning TV, awards banquets, parties, lectures – whatever it is I’m supposed to do – I’ll be there on time and I’ll pull it off, but you’ll see me with a cheat sheet up until the last minute or putting on mascara when the first guests knock on the door.

The one time I got married, I was in the shower less than an hour before I was supposed to be at the church.

And I don’t really break a sweat – it’s just how my world is.

I’m the woman who buys her transatlantic flight the night before she leaves.

I couldn’t plan my way out a paper bag.

There are at least 26 reasons why now is not a good time to do the dishes.

“Budget” is a place where you rent a car.

My Christmas cards go out so late that when I go to pick up a few boxes at the store, they are already 50 percent off.

You guessed it: Here I am, once again on Dec. 1 without much of a plan – and company arriving in less than two weeks

There are a million things I could have done: sent the cat to the groomers, put a new roof on the house, cleaned up the basement, kept the wine I bought instead of “just” drinking it, baked cookies, purchased all my Christmas presents, retiled the upstairs bathroom and lost 20 pounds, just to mention a few items at the top of the list.

Yet I’m fine because as a true procrastinator I don’t make lists.

Never did. Never will. So I conveniently have no way of knowing what I should have done at such and such a time and date.

I’m looking forward to the lunches and the parties and the coffee hours. I’m looking forward to picking my mom and her husband up at the airport. To Christmas shopping and more snow and tree decorating and coming home to a house that smells like fresh-baked cookies.

The thing is that no matter how late you wrap your presents, Christmas will get here and everything will be fine the way it always is.


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