Dear Friends! I am introducing Robert Quirk as the main character, and his wife Monica, in part 1 of this short story series. In these stories, we will look at the effects of procrastination and how it can lead to other bad habits. Some of these are pride and dishonesty in our relationships and in our dealings with others.
We hope that you will find our lightly-humored story both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Introducing Roberto Quirk – Virtuoso and Procrastinator Extraordinaire
Roberto gazed at the striking image in the mirror. He could barely see himself in the dim light coming from the corridor but he thought to himself, “what a handsome man! I hope Monica can keep herself looking great; other women are looking at me and who can blame them?” Roberto mused.
“Dear, are you sure you can see well enough to dress? It’s way too dim in there, Roberto.”
“Yes, honey!” He was a little annoyed by the question. He knew where this was leading and he wasn’t in the mood for an argument now. Tonight is a special night. He was the opening act for the President’s Ball.
“You still have that proud, stubborn streak, don’t you,” she said. She couldn’t take it anymore. She had tried her best to be understanding but her patience had run out.
Procrastination and Relationships – How It Affects Others
Monica was Roberto’s darling and supportive wife, but she was quite forthright in her conversations. She knew how Roberto liked to procrastinate. She had asked him, to replace the broken fluorescent bulb in their bedroom. This was three weeks ago. “Roberto…” she would say gently, every day.
Roberto didn’t like being told the same thing twice but she had mastered the art of getting around this. She had to craft her tone so as not to imply any hint of judgment for his lack of effort. “Did you get around to changing that light yet?” For which the reply had become a daily routine. This time, the strain in Monica’s voice was noticeable. She was tired of walking on eggshells.
“No, honey. You know I am quite busy, I will do it tomorrow! I can see quite fine anyway and remember, don’t call anyone to fix it. I will do it myself… but tomorrow! Tomorrow will be a good time, honey.” He was beginning to sound like a bug trying to convince a lizard not to eat it. He knew it was only a matter of time before she blew up and he got a tongue-lashing, but he would fix it tomorrow anyway. “This tie feels silky smooth,” he said, trying to change the subject. “Is this the new one from Daisy’s?”
“But I need to see myself properly when I am dressing, Roberto,” she snapped, ignoring his question. “I have been using the guest room for a while and you know how I don’t like to have to walk up and down the stairs with my things.” She was correct. She had returned from upstairs and had forgotten to take her new pair of stockings with her. The stockings were somewhere in their bedroom and she couldn’t bother to look for them in the dark. Plus, she would have to walk up those daunting stairs to see herself properly in the full-length mirror there.
“You know you need the exercise” Roberto said playfully. But this infuriated Monica.
Roberto has now double-checked his clothes and was ready to go. “The chauffeur has arrived, are you ready, dear?”
How Procrastination Causes Stress and Anxiety
“Yes Rober..!” she started to reply, but she noticed a few things that were wrong with his attire as he appeared from the ‘dark-room.’ He was beaming with pride but she was still upset that he had joked about the few extra pounds she had recently put on. She had become very sensitive and rightly so. Those extra pounds were more than a few.
She pondered for a moment and decided that she would use this opportunity to teach him a lesson he needed to learn. After all, she did warn him about the light, right? (That’s me the storyteller talking here. I am not sure I like where this is going…)
They are all set to leave the house.
Outside was a silver-plated Limo which had matching rims. Tommy, the happy, well-dressed chauffeur stopped singing and started to grin as soon as he saw Roberto. He was about to mention Roberto’s wardrobe fail but was quickly stopped by Monica.
“How did they know that I would be wearing my silver shoes and matching tie tonight,” Roberto whispered. “Surely this a sign that tonight will be a great night”
Ever since we were children, Roberto was fascinated by two things, music, and clothes. Nothing could come before them.
Soon they arrived at Cabbage Hall. A well-known performing arts theater reserved only for the country’s best performers. Roberto was one of them, of course. He had gained a large following because of his virtuoso playing. His quirky mannerisms and the way he dressed also played a part in his popularity. He loved glittering colors.
Monica promised herself never to offer Roberto advice about how he should dress for a performance. The last time she tried to tell him to wear a formal dark suit, he blamed her for the audience’s general lack of response. He always believed that his audience appreciated him because of the way he dressed. He never understood that it was because of his musical abilities alone. Yes, Roberto was strange, but he was quite a musician, and that’s what created the “magic” around his persona.
When they got backstage and out of sight of the large crowd assembled at the front, he happened to look down at his feet. It was then he realized that he was wearing two different color shoes. “How could this happen to me? My shoes are always well arranged in my closet,” he grumbled. “Someone must have been messing around in my shoe closet…”
Meanwhile, the show had begun and would be awaiting his entry in a few moments. He wouldn’t dare return to the house for a matching pair now. O’ how he wished he had listened to dear Monica. “Why didn’t I listen to her?” he fumed with himself. He is too ashamed to question his wife but at the same time, he is angry with her. She could have been more forceful, he thought and objected to his whining. Yet, to confront her, would be silly and make him look like an idiot. (Do I have to interject here, folks? No, I won’t bother).
The smart man he was, he quickly resolved the situation in his mind. “How do you like my shoes, Mon. Isn’t this a great way to approach my next act? After all, I am performing ‘Different Strides’ tonight, isn’t that ingenious dear?”
“Yes, it is Roberto!” Monica always liked Roberto’s peculiar way of dealing with matters like these. She was beginning to feel a little guilty. Anyway, Roberto was good at making the most of his many mistakes and she admired him for it. It seemed to be the energy behind his amazing performances. Even she had to admit that his artistic abilities and intellect, impressed her.
That time when he played in the formal dark suit she had recommended, he had forgotten to pack his black shoes. Though Monica kept reminding him, his response was, “Oh, yes! I will do it tomorrow, dear.” When he proceeded to dress at the venue, he discovered that he didn’t have them and had to perform in his sandals. Although feeling like a fool, the discomfort caused him to play his best. This was from the sheer embarrassment of having to wear them. Maybe procrastination and perfectionism seem a good pair for Roberto?
Roberto was furious but the audience was spellbound after his first rendition. So much that they didn’t applaud the way he had anticipated. He didn’t understand and this made him more agitated. He thought it was because of his appearance, so he played with even more passion. Was this the reason behind her not telling him about his error in dressing? Did she want to get him to perform at his best? Maybe…
As he stood backstage, the presenter is about to announce him as Monica makes her way to the VIP area. Roberto began to become a little uneasy about his appearance once more. He questioned himself again; “what was I thinking?” As he made his way across the stage, he became more aware of his appearance. He wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear but there was no way out of this at this stage. It was too late to do anything but perform now.
The numbers in the audience are huge. TV cameras and lights are everywhere. Even Monica regretted that she had allowed this to happen. She wasn’t expecting the size of this event. She forgot that this event was a special function for the President of Graceland. She thought it was some kind of circus show and figured Roberto might have fitted in with the occasion. That event was scheduled for another time… She remembered now that she had tried to read the program in the poorly lit room. Why didn’t she take the program where she could read it properly? Was this only Roberto’s fault? Maybe.
What’s Done in the Dark Will Be Seen in the Light
In the meantime, Roberto is on stage. He prepares to take his usual bow before starting. The stage lighting is in full force as they promptly switched to the upgraded lights. The stage is now brighter than a flash of lightning. Now, Roberto and his attire are on display for the entire world to see. The 4 newly installed HD jumbotrons are so huge, that the sight of himself four times was a little unnerving. The cameras were not shy and zoomed in so close, he could see every detail of himself. He wondered, surely the snickering will not be reserved for only those close to the stage now. He thought he noticed something else a little strange about his attire but he couldn’t focus on that now.
His face is bright with shame as he is sure everyone has now noticed his mismatched shoes. Some are laughing and he assumes they are laughing at him. “How can I focus on my playing now, hmm?” However, he managed to get through. He played brilliantly and with a fiery passion. No one knows that the reason for his “enthusiasm” is his way of beating himself up.
Meanwhile, the audience had risen to its feet in appreciation with loud shouts of “bravo!” and “encore!” Even his dress didn’t matter to him now. Everyone was especially moved by his effervescent rendition of Different Strides. He is compelled to please them and continues to play, much to their gratitude.
He bows in appreciation. It is then he notices that not only is he wearing two different color shoes, he’s also wearing two right-foot shoes. “That’s why they felt so uncomfortable.” he gasped. “Well, I hope no one noticed.”
As he was saying that to himself, it was as though the camera team had overheard him. Suddenly, the jumbotrons were all filled with every aspect of his attire. This was the custom and they always highlighted the attire of the performers. Many banked on this for stimulating the latest trends in fashion and the sales that would result. Surely, two right-foot shoes would not be any sort of trend… Who would even bother to make them?
A hush came over the audience. Roberto stood with his head in the air, hoping the cameras would move upwards and away from his feet. Could they be seeing right or is it the lighting? Thankfully, they attributed it to the lighting but Roberto had also helped to defer their attention, by standing at the other side of the piano. Brilliant! He did this as soon as he realized what was happening.
Now, it’s time to finally leave the stage and head home to change before any more surprises should arise. Monica was glad. She too was hoping for him to dash off the stage before the “fashion police” got too close.
He got his wish and ran off as though it was a part of the act. “Sheesh, what a relief? It’s over,” he panted. “Now to get home, but first the dressing room…” As he enters the very bright room he notices his tie, or was it a tie…?”What is this?” He was wearing his wife’s pair of stockings that she didn’t bother to put on. “How in the world did I…? Why did Monica leave these stockings lying around?” He shouted, without realizing that someone else was in the washroom. This person didn’t want to be seen before their performance.
Procrastination Can Lead to Other Bad Habits and Poor Decisions
– Walking in someone else’s shoes – Opportunist or thief?
“Roberto!” someone was shouting at the top of their voice. “Come!” Mr. McGeary (the President’s bodyguard) is requesting your presence on stage. He wants you to accompany the President on his steel pan!!”
What could be worse than this, especially after this new wardrobe-fail discovery? Luckily, he noticed a suit in the restroom that was just his size equipped with tie and shoes to match… (Hey, stop! …(sound of a toilet being flushed)
Roberto was back on stage and in a new suit. This time he was happy, full of confidence and looking quite dapper; though, this garb was for him a little tame. Monica wondered what was going on.
While Roberto exited the stage, the show’s organizer was beaming over Roberto’s performance. He was ecstatic and rushed to the stage to announce that he wanted Roberto to accompany a specially invited singer. Hmm. That singer would join them on stage a little later. Before that, Roberto had to play alongside the President for a special number. The President would be playing the steel pan as a tribute to Graceland. Unrehearsed, but he was confident that all would go well and it did. The crowd was elated.
As the ‘singer’ came to join them on the platform, there was a hush across the large bright room. The ‘singer’ was partially dressed in Roberto’s clothes and boy was he fuming. Roberto wanted to dive headfirst into the nearest hole and come out yesterday. You wouldn’t believe who he was. Was it the chauffeur, the President’s bodyguard or…(me?)
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