Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Praising Nothing, Wasting Time

I take my clothes off and put them directly into the washing machine. As I parade through the house from the laundry to my room, I think about the steps I'm saving-- instead of placing dirty clothes into the hamper, sorting the laundry into piles, and then stuffing it into the washer, I'm done.

As usual, I've got it all wrong. I think I'm saving time. Then I read In Praise of Nothing: Essays, Memoir, Experiments by Eric LeMay which reminds me that to save time, I should try doing something boring like watching rocks.

Shifting how you experience time requires drastic action. Think about it. We're all sucking the marrow from the bone of summer, busy as bees, which differs little from the bootstrapping we do the rest of the year. Summer vacation begins in earnest with trips and camp which after a while don't differ so much from the usual routines.

Slow down, hit a speed bump, slam on the brakes, jump off the crazy train.

I'm my own worst taskmaster. I like working, and I bet others do too. However, working all of the time around the clock depletes the best of us. It makes sense that to reset the clock, we need to dwell at a slower pace, such as watching webcams of grass blades waving in the wind as Eric recommendeds.

Facebook photos of beach vacations-- crawling in the surf, toes in the sand, and smiles with large sunglasses-- populate my newsfeed. We think we're relaxing, and, maybe we are, but I keep thinking of the work to get there-- planning the trip, packing the bags, and then the driving. Then once you're there, there is food to procure, bad kitchen gear to use, mediocre restaurants to suss out, and all of that beach paraphernalia to haul back and forth. I'm not sure that it really is a break.

A better way? Consider staying home. After all, the best bed I've ever slept on is there. The food thing is fairly routine and reasonably healthy. I can lay about and read all the books I want without applying sunscreen. Toss the summer checklist of things to do-- go to the pool, make ice cream, eat shaved ice, harvest garden produce, etc. We've got summer vacation all wrong.

Fill a cooler with a favorite beverage and ice, put on a swimsuit, layout by a water sprinkler, and see how many hours you can lie in the hot sun without doing a damned thing. Reading or listening to tunes is allowed. Then, sit on the deck, as if it were a cruise ship, and watch the birds. Maybe walk into town and knock back a pint, in the middle of the day to avoid running into people you know, as if it were a foreign port call. Walk home. Go inside, eat, take a hot bath, put on your pajamas, and then repeat until you can't take it anymore.

Get back to wasting time. You might find that you have more to waste, if you do it right.

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