Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

~ Tim Kreider, author of We Learn Nothing

Let’s be idle, shall we? Surely we’ve earned it. Three hundred years of capitalism has worn out the social fabric, all of us with holes in the knees of our jeans, and here you thought you were making a fashion statement, silly rabbit.

A few months ago I closed my pay-what-you-can café and went off to manage a fancy coffee bar. Now I’m on forced hiatus, like most of my fellow food-and-beverage folk, not exactly laid off but not exactly employed. Unsure of what’s ahead. Like most of us.

For the first two weeks I was seduced by productivity porn, but I’m over it. I’m even shucking off the soft-core variety that assures me it’s okay to not know what to do, okay to give myself the time I need to process — I’m done with the processing, too, done with the implication that once I’m done with all the processing I’ll be ready for more productivity. 

I want to rest. Don’t you? I want the world to rest. I want us to stop wondering when things will get back to normal (asdf: I think that ship has sailed) and why would we want to go back to that, anyway? Don’t we remember how awful it was?

I remember.

Recommended reading: Tom Hodgkinson’s How to Be Idle, because I think we could all use a refresher course. You can check it out for free from Open Library, or buy it from an indie.

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