Saturday, November 12, 2005

I’m sitting here, just returned from an outing to the market with two dear friends, stuffed from the falafel roll that was brunch, and the bowl of latté that came after. The air outside is as chill as December, and the bare branches showing the sky and the trunks of trees make it feel even more like we took a leap into winter. There are only three weeks remaining of classes; this semester feels like it flew by. I know that it didn’t, in fact it was grueling at times with the intensity of emotions that went up and down without much notice, but isn’t that always the way at the end of something?

Because it was Remembrance Day on Friday, we in the schooling system have had a long weekend. My Thursday classes finished at noon, so I’ve been in “weekend mode” since Thursday afternoon. It’s really nice to have so much time to myself, actually. I’ll be honest; at first so much time to do whatever I wanted was a little daunting. No boy? No big party plans? Schoolwork to do, but no real anxiety about it? But…what is it that I like to do when I’m by myself? Do I even remember?

I’ve really come to rely on schedules, I realized. They are certainly useful when it comes to untangling the mass of “Things to Do” that is a successful university career, and it keeps the stress down. But when it comes to down time, being still in “make a list” mode is actually a bad thing. Not having one causes me to freak out a little inside, and having one is pretty anal, and asking to be disappointed. You can’t plan a weekend, or hope to make everyone’s schedules work out. Weekends don’t work like that—they just happen.

So what have I done this weekend? Well, I took a long, hot bath, and because no roommates were home, I had the doors between the bathroom and my room open, so I could hear the Sade album I was playing fairly loud. I had candles, rubber duckies, a bath bomb: the whole bit. It was grand. I’ve cooked myself nice meals, tasted a new wine (a Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo blend from Spain, quite nice), had a fair amount of delicious coffee, talked to a friend in Australia, daydreamed about Australia, gone walking, been to a Remembrance Day ceremony, gone to lunch with girlfriends, and even done some schoolwork. I’ve indulged in reading Vogue (it is so colorful and exotic—the lifestyles they depict are nothing like mine, though I’d like to hope I’m a little glamorous), made a plan to go to a poetry reading with a friend, and am tossing around the idea of a bike ride, even though it’s chilly outside.

And it’s only Saturday morning, still! Though I know I needed time like this, I am now convinced of the purpose of down time. Those countries like France, Germany, et al, who give their citizens not just the right to time off but the enforcement of vacation time, know what they’re doing. People can’t work productively if they haven’t been able to taste the fine pleasures of doing nothing at all, if they feel like it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some things to do. Or do I? We shall see!

PS If you have time you need filled, allow me to make some suggestions:

1. Read a newspaper. Get a paper copy, or go online to: or . Mind you, you can't scribble in the margins of the online ones, nor can you draw on the faces of world leaders you dislike. But they are free, and environmentally friendly.

2. Look at pretty jewelry you could never in your life afford.

3. Plan a room for that kid you'll have someday.

4. If all else fails, decide where you're travelling next by spinning a globe, then find out how much it'll set you back to actually go there.

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