top of page


There's a difference between free time and time out. One seems to be more valuable than the other. As an example, take the crossword puzzle. I am not an addict (I can quit any time, really. I do it because I enjoy it, not because I need to do it), but I find it a pleasant way to start most days as the coffee perks and the bathroom waits. But part of the appeal of the crossword -- I am frightened to think how large a part -- has to do with the fact that I should be doing something else. Instead of playing silly little word games I should be doing something worthwhile -- writing or reading or working out or phoning my mom or paying bills or making Ed's lunch or trying to solve any one of the dozens (who am I kidding -- hundreds!) of problems with my life. It is the lure of holiday. The fifteen minutes of mental gymnastics is a tropical island away from trouble -- a place of near tranquility where only I and the compiler exist. When the puzzle is done, the day begins in earnest. And pretty darn earnest it can be. Especially at the beginning of the month when the bills come due. I wonder what would happen if I did not have these other duties pressing on me? If I were actually on holiday, with nothing in front of me all day except self-gratification? A walk on the beach, a movie, lunch, a nap ... (Gee, this is sounding pretty good. Add a glass of wine and a couple of giggles and I'd never come home) . In this idyllic scenario, would the crossword appeal as it does now? Probably not. Which makes me wonder how much of any pleasure comes from its being stolen from things more "important"? And yet what an odd idea that is, for what could be more important than pleasure? Sorry, this discussion seems to have got a little earnest. Time to go pay some bills.


bottom of page