08 November 2015

Are you better at wasting time than me?

Last week I complained about vexing issues which may have seemed deliberately inane. I did not intend to worry anyone. I assumed that you would assume that I was busy and could not come up with anything more stimulating. And we both would be half-right.

No, the truth is much more glamorous than that: I have been decidedly un-busy. Slothsome, in fact. Sure, I've held up my end of the bargain at Ye Ole Day Job--which should count as some form of recreation. I go through my paces, saying the right words, smiling at the right moments, interacting as though I live and breathe. But it may be construed by any astute observer to be a very good act, perhaps worthy of an Academy Award. (That Acting 101 class has finally paid off!) I confess to using more and more of my office time to see what great things are happening in the world of social media...and find myself more often than not rather disappointed in humanity.

And I've been dutiful in my duties at home, i.e., the book business. Things are progressing nicely, but I shan't explain more lest certain somebodies be tempted to rant that I am promoting again. That nasty P-word! I'm not after huge sums of cash; I only wish to share a good story or two--or three. Welcome to my [invented] world, and all that! Enjoy the ride. (You can click on links to the top-right of my page if you wish to escape reality.)

It is simply the time of year that it happens to be now. The mirth of Halloween is done, the upswing to the Thanksgiving shopping season is about to begin, and that leaves us (well, me, anyway) with not much to do. Last blog post, I waxed on waxed off about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), lamenting how I could not participate because of my full schedule--then that full schedule never quite materialized. I look like a liar now.

So I made excuses. Sure, I've written 50,000 words in a month. No big deal. Sure, I've got papers to grade (well, those that have been turned in). Sure, I've got life issues to slap around--and, in turn, dodge the ripostes. Sure, the weather has been up and down, hot and cold, winter parkas and shirtsleeves. Sure, I avoid saying 'surely' so as not to link with that old Airplane movie's tag line ("And don't call me Shirley!"). Still, they add up to no excuse, which is just a poor excuse for having no better excuses.

However, I have been successful in one endeavor: wasting time. Of course, time is finite, and if you waste it, you don't get it back. It's a zero-sum game and you don't know the rules. Father Time is a cheater, too. (Truth be told, that time machine thing I mentioned a while back? Well, it's fictitious. I know you're shocked.) Clocks are evil, alarms like a musty foot out of hell. Calendars steal your soul. In a perfect universe time would be unmeasurable, one eternity as slick as one moment. Thus, what you waste is truly waste. And what a waste that would be!

So one day last week, I found myself standing in the middle of my kitchen wondering what to do: at that moment, lost between one particular second of time and another particular second of time, wondering why it's called a 'second' when certainly there is a 'first' and a 'third' that will tick by just as blithely as the second second. Choices. Nanowrimo or Yesowrimo? Coffee, cocoa, or tea? Bagel, muffin, or oatmeal? See a movie, browse for books, or shop for groceries? Too many choices. And then it hit me: the insight I'd been waiting for:

When you turn the last page of a calendar, you're done. No more. The end.

Well, that probably was not as dramatic as it could have been, but it fulfills the goal of cranking out a crank blog post before my first sip of coffee. Notice I pasted an hour glass instead of a calendar? That's got to mean something. Something profound, perhaps. Must ponder that. (That should take up an hour or so.) In the end I chose the muffin and the bookstore. I watched people come and go. Some of them stopped for a while, cracked book covers. Creepy! Others seemed as lost as me, wondering what to do between our lives, the here and now versus the whatever comes next. Some call it the weekend. End? Did someone just type 'w-e-e-k-e-n-d'?

Perhaps, I should have waited to write this until the first cup was finished. (The water has now boiled.) Then I would not need spellcheck. Then I could have been more verbose, more sanguine, more...whatever. I really should not blog on an empty stomach. Or when lack of sleep has caused the brain to wither. Or anytime in the month of November. Thanks for your patience. As always.

And remember: The blog you write may be your own!

(C) Copyright 2010-2015 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. There is no doubt. I'm better at wasting time than you are. I just wasted a chunk of it reading this blog--not really, I enjoyed the read.

  2. Sir Stephen--I bow to your wastefulness. I have never pondered the possibility of passing firsts or thirds while enduring the passing of seconds, staring at the timer on the microwave, waiting for my blessed coffee to scald my lips. But we are not wasting time. We are mind-wandering, that all-important fuel for creativity.

    1. I am already bowing to Dave's wastefulness, so we have the trifecta now. Besides, without clocks or calendars there would be no time, only seasons.

  3. I know the feeling. You're charging full steam ahead--and then suddenly, you dither. What am I doing? Am I doing the most productive thing?

    And then you spend a bunch of time figuring that out.

    Time. Go figure. :)

    1. The universal questions that intrude on the day.