Diner Diaries

Life and Times of a Patron of the King's Chef diner

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Couple of things on my mind. One. Never go to the diner on Wednesday. Whack The Waitress Wednesday is no joke, and it’s not a sight I ever want to see again. Ick.

Two. Just got an email newsletter telling me how to “stay productive in down time”. So that I can continue to work and “be productive” even when I am out of the office, out of cell range and away from the internet. Goody.

Can someone tell me what’s wrong with down time? Down time is when we relax, regenerate, play, think, come up with new ideas, solve problems, and regain our good cheer. Down time is what keeps us sane and human. Do not tell me that my time can be eternally, non-stop productive. I don’t carry a cell phone, a beeper, a PDA, a laptop with wireless internet access, nor do I wish to do so. I don’t want to be available 24/7 as one of the guys in my office claims to be in his voice mail greeting.

Leave me time to think, to create, to observe, to speculate, to formulate, to dream, to plan, to be. Leave me time to read, to listen, to talk, to socialize, to do anything or nothing at all. Was the Mona Lisa created by striving to do away with “down time?” Was The Lord of the Rings written by wringing every last ounce of production out of every minute, or the 1812 Overture dreamed up during a planned break in Tchaikovsky’s DayTimer?

I worked briefly at a software company. The programmers and software engineers were required to creatively solve problems for their clients and to dream up solutions to problems they had not clearly defined. Did they do so by squeezing every minute of it’s requisite results? No. In fact, the office included a prominently placed foosball table, as play was recognized as a spur to the ideas and problem-solving these folks were tasked to do.

So, unlike many articles which have a kernel of an idea I can make my own, please take the ideas for eliminating down time and file them where they belong, with other failed stupid ideas—communism, the flat earth groups, bringing Phil Donahue to cable, etc.