2.15.2010

On Why We Are All Sisyphus


In The Lost Art of Gratitude, Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel in the eternally enjoyable Isabel Dalhousie series, Isabel and Jamie discuss the theory that we are all Sisyphus, in our own way.

You remember Sisyphus- the mythical king who was punished for all eternity by having to roll a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll right back down again. Isabel argued that we are all Sisyphus to some extent. We clean the kitchen at night only to find it dirty after breakfast the next day- we file away papers at work, only to have the stack grow again a few hours later...

I found this discussion to be particularly interesting. Probably because, when I studied Latin in high school, I felt extremely sorry for poor old Sisyphus. But then I got to thinking and realized that McCall Smith’s Isabel is actually right. We are all Sisyphus in our own way. My own Sisyphean plight involves such things as emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry, filing in the office…. These rather mundane tasks always seem to be completed and then lo and behold, all too quickly after completion, need to be tackled again.

I do, however, believe the key is (and I hope poor Sisyphus was able to come to this conclusion himself) to enjoy the journey and appreciate the cyclical nature of the task at hand. If I could somehow appreciate the unloading of the dishwasher (make it a meditation perhaps?), enjoy sorting through the laundry (meditation again?) and relish the act of filing, then perhaps the cyclical nature of these tasks would not be as daunting.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

I would love to know… how are you like Sisyphus?

The Lost Art of Gratitude can be purchased at www.amazon.com

11 comments:

Marsi said...

I have a relationship in which I'm Sisyphus. It's with my mother, a boulder very difficult to quit rolling.

Michael Rivers said...

One way I'm not like Sisyphus is I don't makemy bed. :-)

Rebecca said...

It is all about the journey. So many of us miss this part at times (including me). :)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Marsi and Michael- LOL I had no idea your Sisyphean journeys would be so hilarious :)

Rebecca- so true- yet so hard! xo

Merveilleux said...

Oh gosh.. the first thing that came to mind was blow drying my hair! Every time I turn around I have to wash and dry my hair again. Haha. I don't know what it is but I just hate standing there drying it. I don't have the option to let it air dry because it doesn't air dry well. I've tried to trick myself into thinking that'll be "me" time to meditate or zone out.. but it's a work in progress. I like to joke about hiring a personal assistant just to dry my hair for me. ;)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Merveilleux- Ugh. I am so with you on the blow drying. I detest it! I've been trying something recently where I let my hair air dry (not pretty) and wear it like that for one day and then at night I flat iron it. It is much quicker... I just never know what sort of hair day I am going to have when I let it air dry!

The Coastal Chicster said...

one word: litterbox.

i clean, cats poop, i clean, cats poop, and so on and so on. it's never-ending. :)

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

very interesting...but your interpretation is right, you have to enjoy the moments in between and during those repetitive daily moments.
xox alison

Tish Jett said...

Bonjour ma chere,

Please come pick up your tiny cadeau.

xo, Tish

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR said...

Remember a while ago I told you I picked up a copy of AMS's 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency'.

Voila! Just finished reading it and just in the nick if time as Alexander McCall Smith is having a book signing in Edinburgh on March 3rd and I have myself a ticket! Woo Woo.

So now hoping to pick up a copy of 'Tears of The Giraffe', as this is the second in the series. Right? (Just in case questions are asked, I don't want to be the only attendee with only one title under my belt.)

His new book is called 'Double Comfort Safari Club'.

Thanks to you Mma Connoisseur, that I began my journey into the AMS experience. I am way behind everyone else but I want to read in sequence. His writing is quaint and charming. And I like it. xx

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Sharon- I am so happy you have started his books and love them! He is my favorite (living) author- I just devour everything he writes. And No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is my favorite of his series...

Tears of the Giraffe is the second one. I did a post last year where I list them in order:

http://dailyconnoisseur.blogspot.com/2009/11/on-alexander-mccall-smith.html

Enjoy! And I am so jealous you get to meet him- He never comes to L.A. Tell him his biggest fan is here! xo

 
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