The Art of Doing Nothing
The Art of Doing Nothing
One Sunday afternoon, late this summer, I walked in on my husband doing something I never thought I would see. He was sitting on our bed doing absolutely nothing. I asked him, “what are you doing?” He answered, “Nothing.” I was quite shocked. I didn’t even know he knew how to do nothing. My husband is the king of double tasking. If he is watching TV, he is also paying bills, putting together a piece of furniture, or doing pull ups. A black belt in karate, and several half marathons (and a full marathon) under his belt; my husband lives a life of perpetual movement. It is extremely difficult for him to do nothing. I, on the other hand, could teach a master class.
This got me thinking. How would one teach a class in doing nothing? Here’s how I would do it.
Syllabus- Doing Nothing 101
Class Objective: Learn enjoyable ways to pass the time when one has time to kill.
This is especially useful during long airport layovers where no WiFi connection is available, carpool trips with people you don’t like, or when you are trying to block out incessant, repetitive chatter from your children, coworkers, or loud-talking cell phone abusers. In this class you will learn three effective tactics for wasting time.
- Writing letters in your head that you will never mail.
- Preparing imaginary auditions for reality shows you will never be on.
- Random celebrity fantasies.
Tactic 1: Writing letters in your head that you will never mail.
The key here is to keep things light. Writing depressing letters to dead relatives, or ex-girlfriends or boyfriends will only leave you feeling sad. I recommend writing a letter to someone letting them know of your appreciation for a job well done. For example, while I was recovering from surgery this summer, I watched the entire two season run of ‘Sports Night’ on Netflix over the span of about ten days. This show (which I missed out on when it originally aired) had everything I could want in a distraction: smart dialogue, liberal politics, adorable cast members; I was hooked. When I wasn’t watching an episode, I was writing the following letter in my head:
Dear Aaron Sorkin,
Thank you for creating Sports Night. With such quick, witty dialogue, and provocative subject matter, it was clearly a show ahead of its time. Other than the theory that a show this intelligent went over the heads of most TV watchers, I cannot understand why the show did not last more than two seasons. Perhaps if you had voted someone off the set each week you would have attracted a broader viewer base.
Tactic 2: Preparing auditions for reality shows you will never be on.
There is definite strategy here. You would need to pick a completely different act to audition for ‘America’s Got Talent’ (i.e. The New Gong Show), than you would for ‘American Idol’ (i.e. You don’t need to sound good as long as you look good). If you are pretending to audition for America’s Got Talent you should plan to incorporate acrobatics or fire into your routine. Or you should be younger than 14 or older than 60. If you are pretending to audition for American Idol, it doesn’t really matter what you sing or how you sing it, but you should pretend to be as mainstream America as possible. Also, you should look very beautiful all the time. Otherwise, J.Lo and Steven Tyler won’t have anything to talk about.
Whatever you are preparing to hypothetically audition for, be sure to have your sob story ready. There are very few reality stars who have had happy, uneventful childhoods and have grown into rational, emotionally stable adults (have you seen ‘Big Brother?’). Perhaps, before you do your imaginary audition, you could pretend to live in your car to give it more depth.
Tactic 3: Random celebrity fantasies.
If you seriously need help with this one, you automatically fail my class.
Have so many completely random and useless thoughts, and waste so much time doing it, that you can write an entire blog entry about it. If you are daydreaming so well that people think you are asleep, you get bonus points.