the cruise, the bagel and the black castle


Who doesn’t like to sit around and daydream? I daydream about going on a cruise again. The fact that I daydream about cruises surprises me a bit: I like to think of myself as an adventurous traveler and cruising is not the same as hiking the Gobi. Another person who might be surprised is Bubelah, who probably thinks that I’ve become allergic to vacations since we’ve had kids. But it’s my daydream, and although I can direct my thoughts towards visiting Suzdal, I guess I’m the guy with black socks, sneakers and a t-shirt that says “My wife is a Parrothead, too.”

It’s just a mental break.

Most corporate offices don’t allow access to Gmail or Facebook or, well, anything related to life on the web in the 21st century. I understand, because they’d like to imagine that your “outside” life slams shut the second you walk in the door. The same boss that expects you to check emails “in case of an emergency” while you’re on vacation would turn around and fire you for taking a few minutes a day to send an email from your Hotmail account to your sister who’s going in for a root canal. Such is life.

I tried getting around this mindset once in a while by carrying my little Asus EEE with me to work and taking my lunch at the local Einstein Brothers. I don’t NEED to check email that frequently but taking myself off the clock for a walk to a pleasant little shop with wifi and bagels and some muted jazz is a nice break from flickering fluourescent lights and Outlook. Eating a bagel melt (turkey, tomato and cheddar) with iced green tea and checking in on Brizzly, Disqus and yes, Gmail, is a moment of fun in an otherwise boring-yet-profitable day. And no, I don’t charge the client, although I should: they benefit from me being sharper, less distracted and more alert after going for a nice brisk walk in summerlike mid-October Florida.

It’s a mental break.

Like most parents, I’ve gotten bored with all but the most charming children’s books from time to time. I’ve made up a continuing series of stories revolving around the land of Vegetaria (where Mr. Potato and Ms. Carrot deal with the bumbling-and-grumpy Mayor Pickle, and occasionally visit the Black Castle, home of the Smurfs). I also frequently tell stories about the Big Bad Wolf, who has adventures ranging from the mundane (a light is burnt out! time to go to the light store and ask the Grumpy Old Troll what kind of light bulb we need!) to the weird (he takes a blimp to the clouds and has a picnic in front of the Castle-in-the-Clouds).

It’s a mental break – for me.

What does it mean?

I don’t think of myself as being that creative, but I can tell a children’s story like nobody’s business – off the top of my head.

I don’t think of myself as being subject to the same mental flagellation as a corporate employee – and I give myself permission not to act like one.

I think of myself as one type of person – but when I let my mind wander I’m not that kind of person.

When I let my mind go to the person I am instead of the person I sometimes mistakenly force myself to think I am.

That’s cool.

photo by Darren Shilson