Monday, October 24, 2011

The Cosmic Pause

Father Goof has not been blogging much lately. I’d like to blame the kids for not being terribly amusing lately. But, that is probably because I’m not paying attention. The most likely culprit is yours truly’s own lack of discipline, organization, and just basic time management. But I choose to blame the Jewish holidays. Starting with Rosh Hashanah about a month ago there have been six Jewish holidays that have fallen on weekdays this year – I don’t work (which includes anything on the computer, or writing, or driving) on those days. Plus, they came the day before Shabbat – another day on which I don’t work. Finally, all of these days were preceded by days in which the little Goofs’ Jewish Day School was closed (so teachers could travel for the holidays.) So for the last month I’ve needed to pack four weeks of work into two weeks. I enjoy a super-flexible schedule, but work does need to get done occasionally.

The truly inspired bloggers such as my Stakhanovite friend at Not Ever Still manage to just keep cranking out the cute and amusing despite these challenges. But I just didn’t have it in me.

The Jewish holidays are viewed as a time of personal spiritual growth – but I don’t know exactly what that means. I am observant, but not spiritual – I get no deep thrill as pray. Anyway, Judaism is a religion of doing, not of revelation. So I do. I go to services, I build a sukkah, and I fast on Yom Kippur.

I dream of one day having my life so organized that I can take the month off - not scheme how to fit in all my work and half resent the holidays’ intrusion into my life. But hear I am chasing a mirage, that’s not how life works.

All is vanity.
Towards the end my boss asked me to go to a meeting on one of the holidays. Of course, I had the option of saying no – he knew it was an imposition. But by the end of the cycle, I am usually ready to call it quits. When he thanked me for coming in, I told him I was going out of my mind not being able to work. I understand, spiritually that refraining from “acquisition” is important. But my work is more than a living; it is often fun and satisfying.

My boss observed that the nice thing about these holidays is that it creates family time, from time that would have been devoured by day-to-day concerns. He isn’t the boss for nothing.

We didn’t do anything particularly special. We visited friends and were visited by others. GoofBoy has learned to read from the Torah and did so during services (a full three years before his Bar Mitzvah) – yet another thing he can do that I can’t! But between not driving and the driving rain we didn’t have any real adventures. We just bummed around. MamaGoof and GoofBoy played board games. GoofGirl and I played “Battleship” (she kept knowingly hitting the same coordinates, possibly believing my ships could move.) I read Dave Barry out loud (wonderful hearing the little Goofs laughing to jokes about the 2000 election!) GoofGirl read “Fashion Kitty” to me. When the kids got bored, our fallback was to wrestle.

It wasn’t quality time or special time. It was just time.

Thousands of years ago, ancient Jews sacrificed livestock on the great festivals. This was the most valuable thing they owned – it was food that could transport itself: an exceptional thing in a pre-industrial society. Now we sacrifice our time, because in the end what else do we have?

1 comment:

Robin (noteverstill) said...

Do you know Malevich's Portrait of a Record Setter in Workplace Productivity? One of my favorite Suprematist paintings... http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/kazimir-malevich/self-portrait-1933#supersized-artistPaintings-219760