Entertaining Myself

April 5, 2020

Decades ago, when I’d go out for walks (back then they were runs), I’d pass this house on College Park. The house is in the loveliest setting.. sits back from the street, under towering sycamore trees with a traditional sort of front yard… a bit stately, but also comfortable. A meandering path to the front porch, textured white brick exterior, wooden carriage garage doors. Just charming.

And there would always be this older-ish fellow sitting in a chair in the window. His chair angled more toward the room than toward his yard and I could always see that he was reading the paper, or a book, and I could even see he had a mug of something, probably coffee, on the table next to his chair.  He was aglow in the light that illuminated the chair, and the rest of the room was comparatively dark, not creepily so, just a little less illuminated. I could see book shelves and a fireplace — things like that.

I can’t tell you how much I loved this scene. I loved the neighborhood, I loved the house, and I ached to be that guy sitting in the chair reading. It spoke to a sort of calm. Enough time in a day to be quiet, to get lost in a book, or to read up on something interesting or important. It spoke to wisdom, thoughtfulness. It also spoke to leisure and how we choose to use that time.

It was cozy, safe, intelligent even.

I have the hardest, hardest time relaxing enough, being clear enough of conscience, to plunk myself down in a chair and read. Usually, I have things both big and small — mostly small — on my to-do list, and I aim to get those done before I allow myself the liberty to sit and just… read. I’m not going to run through that list because it’s everybody’s list.. it’s the stuff of daily life and keeping oneself and household functioning. And maybe a few oddball things peculiar to my own OCD [smile, please] [sure you have those, too]. It seems like other people don’t have the same issues I have when it comes to finding reading time (aforementioned OCD?), but I am definitely working on this.

I could never count the times I’ve said, usually defensively, to Jim or whoever, “I’m just going to clear the decks, and when I do, I will be settling into [finally] [reading, writing, a particular project, a new best routine].”

I’ll probably never be closer to that point than during this virus-induced forced downtime… and I’m RETIRED, most of my time is downtime. Now’s a good time, amiright? (haven’t used that expression for awhile).

I haven’t cracked any of the books in any of my stacks (but plan to any second). I HAVE, however, listened to more podcasts, HAVE dipped my toes (Jim’s too) into the world of streaming media (in the second season of a 4-season show on Hulu…. SHOCKED I can even put those words together in a sentence…. and will watch Part III of the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary tonight), HAVE begun to cook more — a LOT more (for me) and am interspersing that with baking and truly enjoying it. Those have all been on my to-do list forever and I’m actually doing them.  And.. in the less fun but necessary category, I HAVE kept up a solid exercise routine, and HAVE learned how to clean — really clean — our house. And prolly more stuff too.

So as far as finding leisurely activities to do with all this leisure time, it’s working out reasonable well.

It’s taken real discipline not to set up a jigsaw puzzle because that would completely take me out of the game. I love them like crazy and get blindingly consumed to the exclusion of all else, so it’s a good thing I’m not doing that right now.  Yay for that.

But I do totally plan to be that guy in the window, any time now.

Oh, but here’s my screen shot for the day. Ever since we finished breakfast, I’ve been watching YouTube videos — also a totally new rabbit hole of a way to while away a ton of time — mostly of late night show hosts stuck at home doing their funny bits without audiences and music (which add more to their funniness than you’d ever imagine). Honestly, though, they’re still pretty funny (because: Trump. Material is just so abundant in the days of this clown car presidency). Anyway, this was a very funny conversation:

Screen Shot 2020-04-05 at 2.14.06 PM

Time well spent!


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