This has been one of the more pleasant post-penning moments: a good, smooth ink pen, a proper, thick-leaved notebook, and a snatched and unexpected moment on the harbour’s edge in the sunshine, accompanied by a glass of ice-cold cider. It rarely gets much better than this.
But this was supposed to be a work day… an early morning train journey, followed by a hard day’s graft, and a crowded rush hour train back home at the end of it all.
A simple question: ‘What would i rather be doing?’, and the choice seemed pretty straightforward – head for home on the aforementioned train, or make the most of a balmy, sun-kissed evening with a leisurely stroll down to the local marina. A chance to relax and unwind, after all what’s the rush to get home anyway? There will be later trains – and likely far less packed and stuffy with smelly commuters; my day was about to get a whole lot better, simply by taking some time out to, well, take some time.
Most of us spend a huge part of our daily lives completely caught up with running in the rat race – rushing to meet deadlines and having our precious time stolen away in the cause of interminable meetings and inconsequential delays, subsisting on pre-packaged convenience food and TV dinners, spending day upon day, upon day, stressed to the eyeballs by events over which we have no control. We have practically no time for ourselves, and what little time we do manage to rescue from the jaws of unreasonable demands is so often frittered away with needless, pointless – yet seemingly inescapable – chores and energy-sapping pursuits: Ironing, cleaning, shopping, queueing, and waiting for others to turn up, go, or do what they have to do so that we can do our own thing, steals away that precious time, and denies us the pleasure of self-indulgence.
Hopefully, it’s all for a purpose, so that we can while away our eventual retirement doing all those things that we’d always planned to do. That’s if our bodies and will are still up to the job, of course!
There are those who might consider it odd that someone for whom wasting time is of such importance should spend so much of the time that i do have, wrapped up in the confines of sl. Surely i should be out and about enjoying the sunshine, dancing in the rain, and generally making the most of everything that real life has to offer, rather than filling my hours with pixels and intangibles? You’re probably right! At some point in the future, i’m pretty sure that i’ll reflect on this part of my life and wonder what the hell i was doing with myself – but that’s still to come.
The fact is that if i did indeed switch off the PC and start engaging in reality a bit more i know, from experience, that it would more-than-likely be counter-productive. My little wander to the marina today only happened because i was in a strange town, with nothing else, other than a railway timetable, requiring my immediate attention. Had i been at home, the picture would have been very different.
There would have been a multitude of ‘important’ and pressing tasks demanding my attention: housework, checking emails, shopping, cooking… the list is pretty much endless, and actually having ‘spare’ time and leaving any one of these particular activities untended to would be practically heresy! Failing that – if weariness was to claim the day – i’d almost certainly succumb to the menace that i call the ‘necrosis of banality’. Faced with the unexpected prospect of a couple of hours all to myself in familiar and comfortable surroundings, i unerringly fail to take advantage of the opportunity, and fall victim to the suppurating morass of meaningless fritterage… reading the small print on my gas bill; watching the adverts in between programmes; re-arranging bookshelves; flitting between the recommended auctions (in which i have no interest whatsoever) on Ebay; scrutinising every single ad for slip-on shoes, elasticated-waist trousers, walk-in baths and collectable plates in the back of the Sunday supplement… in short, meaningless, mind-numbing dross. All completely futile and meaningless pursuits, guaranteed to achieve one thing, and one thing only: waste every minute of that precious ‘me’ time… the necrosis of banality!
And the result? One irritated, unfulfilled and thoroughly frustrated time-waster.
So – to ensure i don’t fall into the trap of NOB – once all the really essential things are taken care of, i shun the small ads and the nonsense auctions, and instead i log in to sl. There i find that i actually want to do meaningful things – even if, to the outside world, they may look to all intents to simply be playing, or worse still, wasting time. To me, it’s not time wasting… i have meaningful and enjoyable conversations, i take pictures and explore the most inspirational, witty and clever scenery and locations, i laugh like there’s no tomorrow, and spent happy hours in the company of people who i genuinely enjoy being around. If that’s wasting time, then bring it on, i say!
When i log back out from sl, it’s with the feeling i’ve done something worthwhile and fulfilling with my time, and that my life – the real one – is actually better for having done it. Yes, all those other pressing and important rl tasks vying for my time are still there to be done, but somehow – when i’m inworld – i really couldn’t give a damn about them; in fact, they become what they really are – a dull, not necessarily important drain on my precious time.
Now… i have a train to catch.
When i can get around to it!
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Otis Reading – Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay