I had quite a bit to do this morning, so of course I’ve spent most of it faffing about. I did a bit of casual tidying in the drawing room, which consisted simply of chucking out a build-up of several days’ papers. Naturally, ten minutes later the Sage came in asking for yesterday’s paper. I directed him towards the bin. Fortunately, I’d been too lazy to go out to the green wheelie bin, so it was still in the kitchen bin. One of the four kitchen bins, that is.

Next, I’ll have to go shopping for food, since all I have is unacceptable meat. This is, of course, a Good Thing as it’ll get me on my bike. This morning, unsure as to whether the lifts in my shoes are quite right, I stood with my back to the Sage, first with my weight equally on both feet, then slightly to my left, then to the right and asked him when my spine was straightest. He had little notion but suggested the right. I did the same with Ro, who also didn’t know but said the same. I took out one millimetre strip and tried again. They both became uncertain. I wasn’t though, it was right. I’d known it wasn’t, but by so little that I couldn’t even tell whether to go up or down. So now I know, I’ve lost 8mm-worth of right leg length – which is the 0.3″ that the physiotherapist had originally measured with the improvised ‘stand on appointment book and telephone directory’ method.

Anyway, shopping. Would you consider that work or play? The ever fine and splendid Diamond Geezer divides his life into Work, Play, Rest or Travel, and he counts Play as anything that doesn’t come into the other categories. He points out that, as a single childless man, he doesn’t have obligations, and I agree with him that that’s what makes the difference. After all, when shopping for food I buy things I’m not going to eat, I cook meals I probably wouldn’t bother to for myself, I’m the only one who cleans the bath and I tidy up after other people, so I think of all those as part of my job. I don’t have a paid job – that is, I do in the sense that I’m the Sage’s business partner, but I don’t receive a pay slip and my income from it is a line on my tax return – so to me, housework, gardening, shopping, voluntary activities, all count as more-or-less work. On the other hand, I enjoy a lot of it, as I do working on our business with the Sage. I don’t think I could possibly separate my life into categories, however general, without making notes as I go along.

Though come to that, how many of us can? A lot of people blog from work (not DG of course) or at least read blogs or surf the net. I do myself; when I’ve spent an hour typing I relax (and reward myself) by reading the paper, a book, or online. If I were in an office where this was permitted, could I still call it work as it’s in office hours? I don’t need to make this distinction of course, because if I waste time it’s my own, I’m not being paid for it.

So there’s the difference and the similarity between DG and me. He is happily unencumbered by family, so once he’s finished work his time is his own. Whether he buys his food and other necessities, cleans the loo, goes to the pub, reads or does anything else, he does it, at any given moment, by choice, so he counts it as Play. I am happily encumbered by family and don’t have an employer so, whereas I have various obligations and a pretty full diary, I can juggle my days pretty well as I wish. However, since much of what I do in those days does involve obligations, willingly taken on for no pay, I call them Work.

I think I’m tailing away without a proper conclusion here. I should be one of those fine bloggers who works out what they’re going to say in advance, and does drafts and all that. Instead, I waffle on and then have the cheek to say I’m being spontaneous. Still, Dave says that no one reads blogs on a Saturday, so maybe I’ll get away with it.

15 comments on “Balance

  1. Dave

    Actually, I seem to get less readers on a Friday than at weekends now, so I think I can conclusively say that Friday is the new Saturday.

    I only buy things I am going to eat.

    But my whole life is play now, so that’s OK.

  2. Dandelion

    I read blogs on a Saturday. And I’m really glad I read this, as it’s very interesting. Makes me think of Wittgenstein.

    I’m with DG, though I would be tempted to go further. Assuming you enjoy your job and do it of your own free will, that counts as Playing in my book. And after all, as Mary Poppins said, “in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun”.

  3. Z

    The Sage loves his job and has been lucky enough to have had a career that is also his hobby. That it pays is a bonus. I won’t ask him where Work and Play come in all this, he’ll think I’m being peculiar and asking trick questions.

    Three people who live alone reckon that anything they do outside of paid work (and possibly within it if they enjoy it enough – perhaps enough to still do it if they had enough money not to need to be paid?) is Play.

    I hope a few people who don’t live alone will give their opinions.

  4. Brom

    I read most blogs at lunchtime in the week. I think I comment more at the weekend though. In the weekend I comment mostly durig “my” time which is between when I get up and anybody else does.

    ..or during sneaky 5 minute surfs, like this one 😉

  5. martina

    I like the way you write your blog Z. It is like a written conversation with a friend. A friend who lives in a different country, thousands of miles a way, but makes you feel like you are in her living room having tea.

  6. Z

    Thank you Martina, that’s lovely of you. I think that writing a blog has taught me to write as I speak. I used to be more ‘literary’.

    I have more time for blogs at the weekend, Brom. I usually write a post last thing at night during the week, and that’s when I read blogs too.

  7. Z

    Of course, there’s also an extent to which I now speak as I blog. The edges are too blurred, I don’t know where they are. Worryingly, I am my blog.

  8. Completely Alienne

    I read blogs on a saturday too. I usually do my reading in my lunch hour at work as I can’t be bothered to go out (and I do admit to the odd sneaky extra 5 minutes when things are getting me down) but recently I have either had to work through or the internets have not been working properly at work. I tend not to surf the internets at home in the evenings because (a) I know I will end up staying up far too late and (b) I am usually doing other things (cooking dinner, washing up, making sandwiches – you know, fun things) and because my youngest has suddenly had coursework deadlines to meet for her GCSEs I could not have done even if I had wanted to. Anyway, I have just caught up on the last couple of weeks and wanted to say that your house is beautiful; and that I hate municipal swimming pools too but I make myself go twice a week and I alwys feel better for it, even though it is a real effort getting there. Stick with it, it is good exercise.

  9. Z

    I think if you’re chained to the computer during the day you don’t particularly want more of the same in the evening. I also think that a break, even if it’s doing a different thing on the same computer, helps you to concentrate on your work, as long as it’s only for a little while.

    I can’t get to the pool at all next week as I’ve got too much on – times I’m free are when it’s clubs or school swimming. However, Weeza and I have arranged to go along on Monday week and I will aim to stick at it. I’m very determined – after all, I don’t like cycling and I’m still doing that after 16 months. We’re all used to doing things whether we enjoy them or not aren’t we?

  10. lom

    That’s confused me, now I don’t know if I am working, playing or resting. I think I’ll go for ‘just getting on with it’

  11. Lis of the North

    Faffing instead of getting on and doing – check
    Somewhat ineffectual tidying – check
    Only one to clean the bathroom – check
    Waffling blog posts – check
    Cooking stuff you wouldn’t cook just for yourself – check. Although for me it’s because I don’t enjoy preparing food just for me, not because I’m selfless enough to cook stuff I don’t like for others.
    Enjoyed this 🙂

  12. Z

    There’s not much I don’t like to eat to be honest and even less that I won’t. But I don’t always feel like cooking, or I’d do something different if I didn’t have others to take into account.

    Funnily enough, Ro likes cooking for himself but not for other people. He says that if it’s just for him it doesn’t matter if it goes wrong.

  13. Blue Witch

    2 spotted instances of less/fewer ‘typos’ from ‘people who know better’ in one day.

    I seem to get less readers on a Friday”

    Happy Witch 🙂

  14. Z

    Yes, you pointed it out to DG too, didn’t you?

    Since publishing it and seeing it on the blog, I’ve been pondering over that ‘does’ in the final paragraph. Maybe it should be ‘do’. However, I write as colloquially as one tends to speak, so let it stand (I and one in the same sentence is also poor English, of course). If there’s one thing I’ve found out since reading many blogs, it’s not the perfection of the English that makes a readable blog, or an entertaining comment. And even the worthy Homer nods.

    Nevertheless, observing the odd infelicity is fun, isn’t it?


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