(NOT) JUST ANOTHER DAY

RITUAL OR ROUTINE?

Here’s a question for you folks “out there.”

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When does a routine morph into a ritual? Or a ritual degenerate into a routine? Because I don’t think we have any rituals, but we do have routines.

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Most of our routines are mandated by life itself.

I get up. Stagger into the kitchen and push the “on” button to start the coffee. Then I clean the floors — kitchen and living room — because the dogs track in an astonishing amount of dirt on their dainty little (and not so little) paws.

I sweep, I mop, and if necessary, polish (sort of). I give Bishop his meds. I give Bonnie her eye drops. I put away Bishop’s mattress. I wash refill both water dishes. I give them all a treat because they expect it.

Mr. Coffee and family

I put away the clean dishes sitting in the rack. I look around to see if I’m missing anything and if not …

I turn on my computer, go back to the kitchen and pour myself a huge cup of coffee. Grab a couple of low-fat, low-calorie biscuits. After which, with a happy sigh, I settle down to begin my day.

Is it a ritual? Seems to me it’s exactly what needs doing. It doesn’t vary because it’s not based on my choice but on the amount of dirt the dogs track in from outside. I do it because it needs to be done and if I don’t, the house degenerates into a pit.

Maybe the preparation and drinking of coffee has a hint of ritual to it. Millions of people all over the world drink coffee or tea as the start of the day. Does that mean that “hot, stimulating liquid drink” has some broader implications for humanity?

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I tend to think “it is what it is.” Something hot, tasty, and stimulating to jump-start whatever the day will hold.

You can call it whatever you want … as long as I get my coffee.

31 thoughts on “(NOT) JUST ANOTHER DAY

  1. Yeah, I’ve never heard anyone refer to cleaning as a ritual.
    In my mind a ritual is something that people do willingly, with religious overtones, a tradition almost.
    Although writing is routine for me, it’s more of a ritual, in that I want to do it, and it happens with regularity.

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    • There is a thin line between routines and ritual, I think. I’m not a “ritual cleaner” but I have met people who are, for whom cleaning the house or themselves has definite religious overtones. Not for me or you, but …

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  2. Hard to separate routine from ritual. For instance, I routinely put up the coffee (for the next day) just before I feed the dogs. Why? I dunno. I think I think I may forget to do it later in the day. Weak? Mebbe!
    I’m used to shaving before taking a shower. I don’t have to shave everyday in retirement but I do because my face feels “dirty” if I don’t. Today, I’ll skip shaving because of that thingie on my cheek. It’ll be disconcerting because I didn’t shave.
    As for the coffee we’re drinking right now: It’s putting hair on my face but not my head.

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  3. I thought a ritual was something to do with religion, like making a sacrifice daily, so I suppose it is. I sacrifice my limbs when I arise from bed in the morning, not to mention the rest. Our days seem to run on the same pattern, Now when I clean the kitchen I can think “Marilyn is also now cleaning her kitchen”. I didn’t see a mention of ironing in your writings, perhaps you forgot. Oh, what a wonderful golden oldie life we lead. You can tell Garry that Mr. Swiss has a 3 day beard, which means he still looks after it daily, but perhaps not so intensive. He also shaves his head now and again and is Bruce Willis reborn.

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    • Garry irons. I buy wash and wear clothing. Sometimes, if I ask nicely, Garry will iron my clothing too. His father was a tailor, you see, so he’s very picky picky and has to iron a crease in his blue jeans 🙂

      Garry is suffering from sore ears this week, so we can’t talk because he can’t hear because he isn’t wearing his hearing aids. We use hand signals. We may reinvent sign language.

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  4. housework is routine, but in this house no one notices if I dont, so I sort of shuffle through the litter to the stuff I do want to do.

    keeping the woodstoves going is routine, getting them started is a ritual, sort of like praying to the God of Warmth.

    Coffee drunk alone (oh my god where’s the coffee) is routine, although the act of making it has a sort of ritualistic feel to it, coffee or tea drunk with someone else is a bit more controlled (good cups, maybe, a bit more attention to detail, not just milk slopped out of a drinking glass…) and ritualistic, hence the term “Japanese tea ritual”

    Putting up holiday decorations is defintely a ritual, although it is now limited to one argument (he wins) and candles in the windows. Voting is a ritual, as is town meeting, and saluting the flag.

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    • Interesting differentiations. Sometimes meal preparation feels a bit like ritual, but mostly, it feels like obligation. If I don’t cook. Garry won’t eat. So I cook. When I’m alone, I might just grab some soup or a sandwich.

      The dogs turn this house into a horrible mess unimaginably quickly. After two days without doing the floors, you could plant radishes in the dirt. Even if I’m alone, I just cannot stand that level of crunchy dirt underfoot, especially since I almost never wear shoes in the house. There’s something about grit between my toes from walking through my living room that really bothers me 🙂

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  5. Hey! I noticed in your third photo.., the one featuring your Mr. Coffee machine, that the shiny metal band around the bottom of the pot is not straight. I expect this to be corrected, with Photoshop, the next time you post it. 🙂

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  6. For many of us, and I include me, the day starts on auto pilot. Stuff gets done while I’m the only one about. Unloading the dishwasher, throwing out the previous day’s papers etc. It’s not until I’ve had coffee and two slices of toast and marmalade that I start to feel ‘awake’. It’s ritual or routine – which word you choose I think depends maybe on how we view those mundane activities. Personally I think we all like routine, implying that the day has a rhythm to it that feels, on one level at least, comfortable. I love the slight contradiction apparent in that first image of the simple beauty of the single flower – delicate and pretty – and the slightly ominous sign of danger ahead.

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    • I’m on autopilot … but not entirely. Because it depends on what needs to be done. I have to check everything, but sometimesess needs doing. Now, as for the coffee … that is mandatory and critical. I need that shot of caffeine before I can begin to actually think!

      I like my routines, though i could do without the daily cleaning and when it doesn’t really need it, I’m happy to skip it. I figure I need the exercise, so what the heck. Rhythm, yes, but I don’t think it’s ritual.

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    • Most of my routines get done because it has to get done and no one else has volunteered. Like cleaning. I don’t want to clean but if I don’t, it’s going be pretty grotty around here. You can’t have three dogs coming in and out all day and NOT have a lot of dirt. Now, those rituals I perform in the middle of the night with the candles and incense and chanting … that’s something else.

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  7. Pingback: (NOT) JUST ANOTHER DAY | By the Mighty Mumford

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