Squandering Time


Anne Michael

It is Sunday morning and so quiet that I am tempted to test the theory of whether I can actually hear a pin drop. I’ve heard that expression my entire life. I’ve always wondered if it were true.  For all the years I’ve been sewing, I’ve never heard a pin drop. I always figured it was because there was some other noise happening to which I was so attuned I no longer heard it.

Actually, I’ve always been terrified of dropped pins. My mother had the most awful horror stories to tell about the dangers of dropped straight pins. Things such as amputations, infections, surgery and death from stepping on an unnoticed straight pin and the lodging of it in an unsuspecting foot were imparted with an almost gleeful enthusiasm. It is because of those stories that I’ve never tested the dropped pin scenario myself. I have the time, but the thought of dropping a pin on a tile floor and not being able to see it worries me. The risk seems too big to take.  

Today, I have an entire day in front of me to spend any way I want. I’ve eliminated “scientific” research as a way to pass the time. There is always cleaning. We have two dogs, Maxx and Beau, neither of whom shed. Well, to be honest, Beau, being a poodle, does not. Maxx, a Bouvier/German shepherd mix, sheds only from his tail—which, coincidentally, is the only part of him that looks like German shepherd. Twice a year it is almost as though he molts. Small tumbleweeds of black fuzz float around on the tile, collecting around the legs of chairs or in corners. This molt will last for a few weeks. Do I want to spend the first Sunday of July 2007, with its blue skies, delicate breezes and bright sun waltzing with the vacuum cleaner followed by washing what feels like miles of ceramic tile? Nope. Not even close.

Okay, so scientific research doesn’t cut it, nor does cleaning. The thought of ironing sounds appealing as I sit here with my cup of tea pondering the possibilities and the choices. I love to iron, always have. It’s a peaceful pursuit that keeps my hands busy and allows me to safely let my brain off its leash and go roaming freely. While I love ironing, I’ve always hated the setting up part of the whole affair. To iron outside on the lanai would require dragging all the necessary equipment outside and back in again when I’m done. That, too, sounds entirely too much like work.  

My eyes have been continually drawn to the gorgeous pair of white enameled floor to ceiling bookshelves my husband had built for me when we moved into this house. Periodically, I take all the books out, dust them, and reorganize them along with the collection of family photos, teapots and other knickknack-y items that grace the shelves. It is obvious that the shelves are in dire need of some attention. I could happily spend hours reorganizing them, poring over the books, remembering which ones I enjoyed so much and finding books I’ve not yet read or wish to read again. However, I’m certain there will be at least a few rainy Sundays this summer in which I can immerse myself in this kind of special pleasure. Check that one off the consideration list.

I don’t want to do something practical. I want to do something decadent, something that smacks of luxury. I’m not interested in spending money. Rather, I want to squander time. I want to spend it freely. I want not to be at the beck and call of anyone. I wish not to be tied to a schedule and doing things that must be done. I want to spend time the way I could as a child, with thoughtless abandon and pleasure, absorbed in some small thing just for the joy of it. I wonder when I got to be so old that I actually have to think about how to do just that. Rather sad, when I consider it. All that being said, it really is lovely to have so many choices, something I don’t have five days a week when I am chained to the responsibilities of work. Still my eyes keep going back to the bookshelves.  

I just realized after more than an hour of considering all the possibilities, there is only one thing (well, okay, maybe two things, but my husband is still asleep) I really want to do at least for a few hours toward the goal of spending time as though I have far more than I’ll ever need in two lifetimes. I’m going to put on a swimsuit, grab a beach towel and head out the back door to the lanai, enjoy a dip in the pool and take to my chaise lounge with Terry Goodkind’s book Phantom with its silky pages and satiny covers. I can soak up the warmth of the July sun and revel in the unmitigated luxury of it all. Rather than worrying whether or not pins are dropping, perhaps I can listen for a pinecone to drop from the tall pines in the yard next door.  

Wow, I may have to take a nap too; this decision-making stuff was too much like hard work. Dusting, dog hair and ironing will still be there later or tomorrow and even next week. The first Sunday in July 2007 will never come again. A perfect summer’s day and the time to enjoy it and a good book, may not come around for a while. (It is, after all, hurricane season in Florida.) There are a few lemons off my tree I can turn into lemonade. Perfect. Just perfect!

At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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