It is 3:30 on a Thursday morning. I don't have to head to work until 5:30. I was awakened by a whiny dog who needed to go out, and of course that woke up the other dog, and once you've wrapped up in a bathrobe and stood out in the cold under the frigid stars it's impossible to go back to sleep. So here I am, staring glassily at the keyboard and thinking I really ought to be working on my next manuscript, but I can't seem to put a coherent thought together. Go figure.
It's aggravating to have an hour all to myself, free and quiet, and not be able to use it productively. This is a gift out of the blue. I haven't had a quiet moment to write in weeks...but no. It's no good. Though I'm a morning person, it has its limits, and right now my brain is Jell-O.
I wonder why it is we feel we have to be productive and useful and accomplish something every moment of the day. I can't just sit and watch TV -- I have to knit while I'm doing it. I can't just have a conversation with someone on the couch -- I have to shell beans while we talk. If I sleep on the bus during my commute, I feel as if I've wasted time and need to apologize to...well, somebody! And yet I feel strongly that sometimes the most useful and nourishing times are those moments when you stare into space and seemingly do nothing. Creativity needs those moments. Your soul needs those moments. And I don't think as a society that we get enough of them. If we're not rushing around accomplishing things and multitasking, we're staring at our electronic gadgets and wiggling our thumbs. The buzz words are efficiency and productivity. If you are caught staring out a window at work, you are seen as a slacker. Our labour-saving devices have made us busier than ever. Even our children are overloaded with organized play and noisy input at every moment, and I bet most of them wouldn't know what to do if you gave them a sunhat, opened the back door, and said, "Come back by suppertime." We have become inept at self-entertainment and unstructured play. We've lost the knack of exploring -- nature, our world, our own imaginations.
I want to find a school that offers a program in becoming an inefficiency expert. I think that sounds like my sort of career. I could be a consultant, traveling across the country to help organizations make their staff slow down, cool off, relax, and stare into space a requisite five minutes every half hour. And you know, I bet if we all did that...productivity would go up.
Ah, there's the baby crying upstairs. So much for the peaceful hour. I guess I'm off the hook -- I couldn't possibly write with all the caterwauling. A perfect excuse to go lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling...with my eyes closed.