I’m learning how to ration my vacation days. If I could save them forever, I would pile them up into a big heaping pile called a sabbatical. But my vacation days expire, so I had to use them — and with those days I went to a Red Sox game and a Greek restaurant and a car dealership and a beautiful park on a sunny day. I sat in the 10th row, ate the best meal of my life, got an oil change and had a conversation that had been delayed far too long.
We live in a culture driven by productivity. And that means many people feel like they don’t have time for something like baseball. Over the past few years, I stopped watching, too; it wasn’t efficient; I got too little entertainment out of the time I put into it. But over the past few weeks, I began watching again, almost in a contemplative state. I spent a week in a newsroom reacting to the events in Boston; I watched the full bombing footage dozens of times. So I guess it was partly a restorative act. But that connotes that it was a net-zero; instead, it was more so a time to observe the universe exist around me. It sounds like the zen, holistic lifestyle that is supposed to be healthy, but I’m brainwashed by the capitalist motor of production so I need to find a back road there. So I’ve convinced myself it’s a productive act — kind of like stretching in the mornings.
The fact that we work more than we don’t seems to indicate that there is something about the very nature of the universe that we must overcome — that whatever we would do in our free time is not as important as making the machine of our culture churn out whatever it churns out. But the unstoppable entropy of this world means no matter how much we work to organize the universe, we will be overpowered by its sheer nature, which is stronger and more inevitable than gravity.
I know vacation days are supposed to be for workers to recharge, but that insinuates that our purpose is to be workers — to be at full strength to make the world go ’round. But if you turn off your phone and your e-mail and stop working for a few days, I can attest that the Earth still seems to rotate on its axis at 1,040 miles per hour.