Pockets of Me Time

My problem is that I wake up in the morning and look at the stoppages in my upcoming day – those deadlines and times which determine when your privacy begins and ends again, those times of the day which require you to do something with somebody else.  Visits are that way.  Doctor’s appointments are that way.  Picking up your child from school is that way.  For many years I have contrived to create more and more spaces of uninterrupted “me time” for myself, time uninterrupted by any obligation to anyone.  It’s somewhat like the Bill Maher joke about “that kind” of party, where it’s Friday night and you don’t have to be anywhere until next Tuesday.  Though it’s not the partying I crave so much as that stretch of time, opening up, unblocked by stoppages of any kind. Summer brings this on.

I remember a funny little movie I once saw, some experimental short of some kind.  In this movie a man would get into an elevator and press the down key.  As he went down to ground floor he used the time in the elevator for himself, performing little acts of rebellion, at first doing little things like maybe taking off his shoes one day and putting them back on before getting to ground floor.  The next day he did shoes and socks, getting more and more efficient.  Then shoes, socks, and tie, and back again, then trousers, then shirt, etc .. all frenetically speeded up actions in faster motion, then a final brush down and wipe of the comb before he strode manfully out of the elevator, on his way to work.  He may have drunk tea at one point … I have entered ghost memory now.

If anybody knows of this movie, or how to search for this movie, I would love to know.  We’re going back about 35-40 years.  I always thought of the movie as a deep metaphor for how we create pockets of time for ourselves, inside the crush of our everyday lives and duties.  I thought that the first time I saw it, perhaps long before I was able to put into words what the movie meant to me.

I also remember a New Yorker cartoon (or was it Paris Match?) of two little cartoon character men, inside two cages.  Actually one cage contained the smaller one, and inside the smaller one was a hapless little man, being taunted by the other man because he was not locked in the little cage, but was in fact still in a cage.  Constraints.

But getting back to the “stoppages” in my day… I have in the past felt guilty at times for being such an introvert, which in my book simply means “quite happy to be alone.” I was cheered to hear on NPR that Burt’s Bee’s founder, Burt, had a saying… “Any day that nobody’s visiting and I don’t have to go anywhere, that’s a good day.”

Time.  Feel it.  It is ample.  Summer is ample.

Advertisements

In Praise of Boredom

I found myself re-reading this wonderful essay by Evgeny Morozov in the New Yorker, called Only Disconnect:Two Cheers for Boredom.  It’s wide ranging, exploring our state of “permanent receptivity” due to connectivity (smartphones, etc.)   This quote, below, about how constant, permanent receptivity to the newest thing, newest update, newest gadget to buy .. how this receptivity robs us of the ability to distinguish between the new and the same old, same old.  We are apparently bored without even recognizing it, but it’s the low grade variety of boredom we now experience, not the productive kind, where kids would spend summers just looking at clouds in the sky.  The Circlers are people from the new Dave Eggers novel.  The quote I like is the part that starts “One reason …

Image

Covering their assets

Before signing up for iTunes Genius I had to read and sign the terms and conditions.  Who does that?  Well, this time I did.  And here’s what I found.  Seems as if you can get some serious symptoms from too much iTunes – beware!

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

To avoid muscle, joint, or eye strain during video game play, you should always take frequent breaks from playing, and take a longer rest if you experience any soreness, fatigue, or discomfort. A very small percentage of people may experience seizures or blackouts when exposed to flashing lights or patterns, including while playing video games or watching videos. Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, involuntary movements, loss of awareness, altered vision, tingling, numbness, or other discomforts. Consult a doctor before playing video games if you have ever suffered these or similar symptoms, and stop playing immediately and see a doctor if they occur during game play. Parents should monitor their children’s video game play for signs of symptoms.

Image