Saturday, May 14, 2011

Smelling the roses

It's been go go go go go go go for me that even when I have a slow day at home I end up sleeping through a good portion of it. There's been plenty of fun stuff in the mix, but let's face it, I've been pushing myself awfully hard on the work and play parts of the equation.

Today's activities might sound no different than a typical routine for me, but it wasn't the same. After calling the rental office about my non-functioning air conditioning, I headed toward the movie theater. There was a film I needed to see, but after that the day was wide open. Rather than head back home, I decided to stay out. I didn't want to be in my apartment if a maintenance worker came by, and I also figured it was still going to be pretty warm in my place. (I suspect that the air conditioning repair is not going to be fixable on the same day it is diagnosed.)

I had decided to go to another theater to see a film that I didn't need to see for any reason other than it looked like it might be interesting. I had a few hours to kill and no real plans for filling them. I walked to Barnes & Noble and wandered the aisles. I thought I might get the new Sloan album if they happened to be carrying it--they weren't--but it was nice to meander around the store without any real purpose.

That's something I don't do much anymore. Internet shopping has pretty much killed the need to visit the seller. If there's something that nearby stores may or may not have on hand, I can probably check the inventory online rather than pop in to check. More often than not ordering the book or CD or movie from Amazon is what ends up happening.

I used to do this kind of browsing when I needed to wile away time between movies or even because I enjoyed seeing what was new. (Today I discovered that Erik Larson has a new book out.) I'd lose plenty of minutes looking at the wall of magazines, sometimes just to see what was there and sometimes because there was something I was looking for. The magazine business has surely taken its hits in the last decade-plus, especially considering my habits. I used to buy magazines on a regular basis. I rarely do so now. (In this instance I was looking for a film magazine, which I did purchase.)

I still had a couple hours to go until the next film started, so I ended up getting lunch at an Italian restaurant I like but haven't eaten at in a long time. Although a few drops were falling and the sky suggested many more were forthcoming, I elected to eat outside. The air was lighter than it had been in a couple days, and I could stand to spend some time outdoors.

Since I was in no hurry, I took my time with the meal. It seems like the last several months every minute of the day has been scheduled to be used in the most efficient manner. There's always somewhere to be or something I should be doing. Consider my visit to New York City and the two film festival trips. Those were about cramming as much into a condensed period of time. I enjoyed those experiences, but I don't think you could call them restful.

Browsing at a bookstore and eating a slow lunch aren't exceptional things--and they were keeping me from being at home--yet these activities let me linger over what I was doing rather than charging through them dutifully. Wow, I thought, so this is what it's like not to be in a rush.

I made the short drive to the next theater and still had a wait ahead of me. I read from the magazine for a bit before going to the next movie. After that it was off to purchase some yarn for hats for some friends' new baby. Yes, knitting is on the horizon.

And then I was home. The apartment's stuffiness came out in a wave. Unfortunately no one had been by to check the air conditioning while I was gone. (I guess they don't do that on weekends.) It has cooled off outside a bit more, so it's slightly less stifling inside. More importantly, I felt relaxed from my Saturday in the city. I had time to breathe between movies and wasn't clockwatching as much. I could stand to do that more often.

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