Saturday, August 06, 2005

In Praise of Idleness

It would be fair to say that I have never been over imbued with the protestant work ethic. I have always been more attracted to the joys which can be provided by contemplation of the trouser leg.
I've always regarded work as something that is done for a specific purpose; i.e for money. Woolly phrases like 'self-fulfillment' and 'realising one's full potential' have inspired little more in my soul than a resigned shrug.
That's not to say that I don't work. Not being of independent means, and unlikely ever to be so, I have not had the option of a life of cultured leisure. I would quite happily have taken my place amongst the Eurotrash, and jetted around the globe snorting cocaine and attending film premiers. Sadly, that was not to be my fate. I am more likely to travel to a film matinee by scooter and suck on a sherbert fountain.
Work has been an unavoidable necessity. To lessen the trauma, I have adopted a modus operandi which renders the whole sordid business a little more tolerable. I do my best to confine work to short bursts of frenetic activity; thus maximising the time available for idleness.
It's a difficult trick to pull off. You certainly can't get away with it if you have to work stipulated hours for an employer. In my last office job I'm sure that I could have done the work required in half the time. That wasn't an option. You don't get paid for the work you do; you get paid for the hours you work.
My current self-employment is much more congenial. There's nothing like taking an afternoon off on a whim, or taking holidays on cheap off season rates, to make life that little bit more savoury.
Of course, if I had the money, I probably wouldn't do anything at all. I'd probably be dead, or a raving alcoholic/drug addict.
Maybe one in ten people actually enjoy their jobs. Even they, I'm sure, would be off like a shot to indulge in decadent self-indulgence if handed a huge wad of cash. It's all a question of degree. Some people prefer poverty to the daily grind, and will quite happily live on windfalls and tinned sardines rather than submit to the indignities of labour. Others, city traders for example, will need a bit more inducement to forgo their eighteen hour days and £100k salaries.
The art of idleness has aquired a champion in quarterly (or thereabouts, when they can be arsed) magazine The Idler. There is much material for idle contemplation in this learned tome.
Climb in your hammock, pour a large gin and tonic, and contemplate nothing in particular. IT BEATS BLOODY WORKING ANYTIME.


pissoff said...

Bravo! I can totally relate. Unfortunately, I have to put in my 7 hours a day of work for my paycheque when it could be done in half the time. I envy those people who have a more flexible schedule and can maximize their fun time.

garfer said...

Work/life balance? Give me life/work balance every time.
It's not really that I work less than other people, it's just that I have a choice when to do it.

Herge Smith said...

I'm the king of idle! I can do nothing for days and weeks and still feel exhausted.

I revel in nothing - and can turn this into an entire industry.

I couldn't even be bothered to read the Idler, frankly.

garfer said...

A bit of light blogging whilst reclining with laptop, and drink and snacks close at hand. Bliss.
I wouldn't mind a butler.

Herge Smith said...

Ohhh, I'd love a good laptop. I could blog whilst watching DVDs of Blake 7 (purely for research purposes you understand).

"Mongrave...Mongrave!! Damn it where is that ma- ahhh Mongrave, fetch me a cold glass of larger, and a light toasted ham sandwich, there's a good man"

Yeah, I reckon that would be okay.

garfer said...

I liked Blake's Seven. Good scripts. Pity about the shaky sets and location scenes in disused quarrys and Battersea power station.

Sniffy said...

There's a work/life balance thing in the good old NHS called "Work matters, life matters". We have a poster in our kitchen that details all the wonderful things that you can get time off work for - if you have kids of course; if you're single and child-free, you have to stay at work and subsidise the rest of the bastards. Anyway, our "Work matter, life matters" poster has been suitably defaced so that it now reads: "Work matters, life doesn't".

I hate working, I'd much rather it be weekend all the time. I just don't think I'd be very healthy (in the head or the pocket) if I didn't work. I'd have to find a hobby.

I love being lazy too.

Blake's Seven was ace.

MHN for short said...

Hey Sugar!
I answered the difference between "Red Necks" & "Trailer Trash", hope it helps to clarify.

garfer said...

Why should we have to subsidise other peoples inability to stop dropping sprogs? Fuckin' outrageous.
Thanks for that.

MHN for short said...

I know! Your welcome. Did it help to clear up what Becca didn't cover?

Chameleon said...

I stumbled upon your blog via the Scottish blogs website. As a fellow Tunnocks-muncher I was instantly attracted by theinventive and amusing title.
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the writers from The Idler in March when my team and theirs competed in University Challenge The Professionals. They were really a very pleasant bunch and I was delighted that they beat the FT, although, as one of my teammates quipped: "I'm glad we weren't drawn against them, can you imagine how many extra sessions our Director would force us to work if we were beaten by a team called The Idlers?"
Having said that, I admit to an innate or inculcated character flaw, having been brought up in a Scottish protestant milieu (I mention this only to evoke the work ethic dreariness that goes with the territory of such an upbringing), which involves - sadly for me - an utter abhorrence of idleness. I envy you ;)