A time to work, a time to play

Raccoon sleeping in a tree

Time, how do I waste thee? Let me count the ways…

Well, Plinky for a start, although less now than initially as I find the prompts becoming repetitive. Sometimes all these pop quiz pieces on songs, films, novels, makes of underwear and so on make me feel like I am living in a Nick Hornby novel. Reading High Fidelity was funny; being the bloke with the Top 10 for Everything is less amusing. It’s not fictional and it’s not someone else. We were laughing at him, not with him.

T’Interweb is a great time waster and I love that but it can get addictive. I allow myself to use it to prevaricate. My whole family has fallen prey to it. In the evenings we sit and type as though we are doing something meaningful instead of having conversations or being sociable.

However, it’s not fair to blame the web. Perhaps we need the space after a day crammed with other humans. It’s my choice and to be honest it’s a great tool for wasting time. If it were not there I would be wasting time in other ways, as I used to do before it came into my life. What ways might those be, I hear you cry, astonished that such things were possible in the primitive pre-electronic age.

Well, if we discount television, because it’s really a form of electronic entertainment, and thus by extrapolation, the wireless, then time might be wasted in various hobbies such as stamp collecting, playing patience (that’s solitaire to those reading from across the Pond), building airfix models, reading books, writing angst-ridden poetry or staring longingly at posters of [insert pop/film/tv star name here] (teenagers especially were susceptible to these last two). For the more adventurous, time could be wasted window shopping, occasionally for windows, but more usually for clothes, books, toys, make-up or other desiderata. Sports might feature for other people, although these could be dangerously sociable. In extreme cases, voyaging around the world alone in a yacht or paddling across the Atlantic by canoe were also good time wasters, even though they never caught on as mass activities; watching other people doing them on tv however was another matter. Building houses of cards, laying long runs of dominoes to be toppled or designing complex lego constructions were also possibilities.

Time wasting is a glorious expression of the human spirit, a revolt against the Puritan work ethic which demands we all be busy and that work defines our value. When we time wasters are idle, we do not spin; we shun spinning for the open horizon, be it mental or physical. Why climb Everest ? Because it was there! Why sit and dream? Because we can!

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