The Suitcase Lady


September 17, 2019, 10:04 pm

How’s this for an oxymoron. The other day I heard these words coming out of my mouth directed at my husband. “Hey, we have to hurry up if we want to do nothing!”

I make absolutely no excuses for the absurdity of this statement.  It encapsulates the present tenor of life in America. Time and events go at warp speed. Even simple tasks have become complex or convoluted.

Here’s an example. I go to check out a book at the library. The self-checkout machine fails to recognize my library card. After three attempts, I go to the next identical machine. It loves my card instantly, but tells me I’ve checked out a book that I’ve never seen in my life. All sorts of my time will be wasted finding a staff person to sort out the mess. Multiply this little episode by all similar occurrences in a week, and my nonsensical sentence isn’t so nonsensical.

When the weekend arrives and all the tasks and work involved with daily living are done, my husband and I try to claim a few unstructured  hours free from all obligations, both electronic and otherwise. That’s a challenge…..if we don’t hurry up, we won’t get to do nothing.

Almost all kindergartens in America have a time set aside each day for “free play”. The children get to choose from a wide variety of activities; painting, block building, reading, puzzles and more. It is the child’s choice to play alone or with friends.

Grown-ups need free play time as well….even though it’s a trick to wrest that time from the fast flow of contemporary life. I agree with these words of the brilliant American physicist, Richard Feynman: “Play is hard to maintain as you get older. You get less playful. You shouldn’t, of course.”

Nothing to do but enjoy the coffee

3 Comments for this entry

  • Maureen Palmer

    Perfect timing on this one. I need to hurry up and get lots done these next couple of days so I can do nothing for a week in Canada. I just finished a wonderful book by Patricia Hampl titled The Art of the Wasted Day. It was a great reminder of how important it is to learn to take the time to “be” with yourself, and do nothing.

  • eve robillard

    Mary, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts . . . I may respond in more detail later . . .

  • eve robillard

    Now that we all have computers, we are expected to do more tasks, I believe. Like check out our own groceries, etc.
    (I refuse.)