Sweetie has a few things she waits for, saves up for, to make a tiny little mini-vacation in her day. I don't do this as much but I have a few of my own, too.
Car washes. Sweetie guards her trips to the automatic car washes jealously. If she can have it, she'll go by herself, and find the ones where the machinery grabs the car and gently pulls it through from one end to the other.
I asked her about this. "I imagine myself at the beach, as a grain of sand. I'm looking up at the foaming water, the spray and slosh and the sounds and it's very relaxing." She expanded too, adding that the last time we went to a beach, she couldn't really relax because every few minutes a young child or other would come running up, demanding she run along behind him to see what he'd found, make him a snack, help him get sand out of his swimsuit. She'd have to pause to get sand out of her own swimsuit, for that matter.
We all know my solution to that particular problem.
And then of course there's the fact that when you're a parent of young kids at the beach, you really can't relax, not ever. You look around to spot one kid, he's okay, look around for the other. Check on him. Check on the first one. And so on and on and you can't lay back and imagine being a sand grain on the beach, washed by waves. You don't dare. But locked in the car with the machinery pulling you through, for a few minutes nothing can happen. You can simply set all the burdens down and not think about them for a brief little span.
In the morning, Sweetie likes to get up, turn off the ceiling fan, and come back to bed to watch as it slowly spins down. I still don't know entirely what that's all about and I'm not certain she could articulate it. But that's a few minutes of the morning she spends in quiet contemplation, watching the blades come to rest.
I like to draw. Unfortunately what I draw isn't very artistic and sometimes not that very imaginative. I tend to draw the same thing over and over. I draw my dream car, exactly how I would build it if I simply could produce the perfect parts, arrange them in just-so order and not have to learn panel beating to make the body curve this way and that way to match my imagination. I draw floor plans for houses, again, often the same one. You'd think I could rip one of those out in no time flat, having drawn a few of them, literally, dozens of times. But no, every time I start to find myself wandering through the house in my mind. I'm not sure now if what I'm doing is drawing a floor plan or simply providing a somewhat more concrete framework for a daydream. Because sometimes when I get out the trusty quad rule paper and ruler and pencil, I sit for many many long minutes before drawing a single line. Sometimes all I accomplish is a couple of lines, the rest of the time spent thinking and wandering.
Instead of the hurry-up concrete world in which I exist, where deadlines are very real and tangible results are the order of the day, it's nice to have these pauses where there is no agenda, just abstract possibilities.