Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On doing nothing

On most weekends, I have a laundry-list of things to do: obligations to my home, my studies, my family, and my community. Some months ago, I even started keeping appointments to myself, realizing that if I ever wanted to see certain exhibits, go out with friends, or visit certain places, those plans would have to get into the book.
In this instance, I had made no allusions about industry. The Great Three-Day Weekend was bearing down upon me, and there were no plans to paint, to cut the grass, to weed, or to study. In this, I was overwhelmingly successful.
Instead, my wife and I dined at Isabella’s Taverna; elsewhere we had caprese; I had a hefty bottle excellent beer at the tragically unflatteringly named (though altogether charming) Dogfish Head Alehouse; and had my melancholy bagel, much improved by the company of my wife. We slept-in and even managed to find time for a nap between outings to eat and walking the dogs around the city parks. Alas, we failed to find a much-admired Indian restaurant that recently relocated. A fool’s errand for another time.
I realized (or more correctly, remembered) that every now and then, I need to go off the grid, and leave my planner closed and out of sight. The lack of structure or hope of any accomplishment is an accomplishment in and of itself. My weekend is over, I have nothing to show for it, and I am the better for it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Yesterday's bagels

It used to be one of life’s simple pleasures, coffee and a bagel. I still make the trip to one of the local bakeries or chain bagel-joints for breakfast, but the important part is missing.
For years, I brought a baker’s dozen with cream cheese to match for the office on Friday mornings. It started out as a once-in-a-while thing, a semi-southern boy’s way of saying “howdy” with food, and somewhere along the way turned into a weekly ritual. People waited at the window. When I was late, sometimes a crowd would have gathered. Then, the hungry would help me unpack the bag, put everything out, and we’d dig-in.
Friends talked with me and with each other about work, music, and the weekend. Bargains were struck about who would get the last blueberry bagel. Sheepish interns subsisting on a student’s budget would emerge from sequestration in their dungeon to ask, “Are these just for anybody?” There were people from other parts of the office who I knew only from conversations about books over breakfast. Then, on to tasks at hand.
It was hard to leave that job. The work was constantly challenging and interesting, sure, but it was all of the people who I did and didn’t work with that made it meaningful. Of course I’ve mused now and again about going back, but in the few months since I left a lot of other people have gone, too.
The job was like that favorite food, I suppose. I’ve realized that as much as I liked it, it was mostly about the company.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


With a barbaric, “Yawp!” I begin this blog. For what is the point of being without making oneself known? We live in a world full of people, creating, living, aspiring. Whether you believe it is by design or by the fortuitous though inevitable happenstance of nature, we are crafted more for company than for solitude.
In writing this and in all of the words that have not yet occurred to me, I am striking out to meet you. I will write about what I am reading, what I am doing, and what I observe. My friends and family will play their roles. And I will pontificate, I’m sure. My blog will sometimes become a little overgrown and untended, as there is a world outside of the box on my desk, and there are as many ways to find community as there are people.
Connect. Meet a friend for coffee. Talk with a stranger. Write something. Read something. This is why we are.