Sometimes we all have to make the decision of whether or not to take the lazy way out. When making rice, do you make the instant kind, or the real kind? If you spill some water on the floor, do you leave it to evaporate over time, or do you clean it up with a paper towel? When riding your bike down the street, do you take the time to put your helmet on, or do you go without?
Each lazy choice has its risks, and when deciding whether or not to choose them, you carefully weigh the pros and cons. Generally, in my case, the lazy way wins out, and occasionally I suffer the consequences.
Last year I got back to my apartment after Thanksgiving to find that none of my three roommates were back in Boston yet. I made myself comfortable and tidied up around the place, and went to take the trash out. Now, at the moment there were three choices: 1. Put something in the doorway to make sure it doesn’t get blown shut by the wind. 2. Take my keys with me in case said door shuts behind me. 3. Take no precautions, run outside quickly with the trash, and rush back in before the door gets blown shut (hopefully).
Choice number three was, of course, the one I took.
I ran outside in my slippers, sweatpants, and a sweatshirt, leaving the door open behind me, and quickly tossed the trash into a bin. A gust of wind hit me in the face and I shivered. And then I froze as I heard the sound of a slamming door.
Suddenly the consequences of my laziness came crashing down upon me. I spun around and shuffled along the driveway in my slippers. I stupidly went to try to open the door. Definitely locked. I went around to the other door. Also still locked. I walked around to the back of the building. Most certainly as locked as the other two doors. I peered over at the neighbors’ place even though they had no way of helping me. They were gone too.
I was alone, I was cold, I had no phone or wallet, and I was wearing fuzzy slippers outside at the end of November. My first impulse was to assume the fetal position somewhere near the trash bins, but then I figured that would be mildly unproductive. Instead I decided to set out o’er the neighborhood in search of a friend who would be back in Boston and could help me out, or at least give me some shoes to wear.
As I walked down the street I plotted which friend to try to find first. My white fuzzy slippers were quickly become a terrible shade of brown, and my feet were getting colder by the moment. A couple cars passed and the people inside them stared at me in my poorly dressed misery. I heard a car slow down next to me, and wanted to tell them off, wanted to express to them my shared humanity despite my sad, cold circumstances. My lack of appropriate footwear and outerwear did not define me! I WAS ONCE ONE OF YOU, CAR INHABITANTS!
I heard the car’s window roll down. “Uh, Meg? What are you doing?” asked my roommate, peering out of her car with a smirk.
I stopped short. “Oh, y’know, just going for a stroll.... and, uh, I got locked out.”
“Ohh wow,” she said. “Just get in.” She drove us home, unlocked the front door to our home like a competent human being, and we both went inside. She laughed the whole time.
And so, serendipity saved me from the cold, but not from the sad humiliation of my laziness’s profound effects. I had made a choice, and it was a bad one, and I paid the proverbial price. Since that day, whenever I consider taking the lazy option or not, I think back to that day. And then, well, I still make the lazy choice. But at least now I pause before doing so. So... lesson learned?