When you’re doing nothing, you’re really doing everything | John L. Micek

Photo by John L. Micek

[Editor’s Note: This column first appeared on PennLive on July 19, 2018]

SOMEWHERE ALONG LONG ISLAND SOUND – From my beach chair, there’s a strong wind blowing in from across the water, rippling the pages of my book, as moisture slowly condenses on the beer bottle at my side.

Squinting against a strong afternoon sun, I find the kids in the middle distance, water up to their waists, as many as there were the last time I looked up to check.

My cousin, Brian, taps me on the shoulder, and asks me if I want another beer. The answer is never anything but yes. And, seated in a circle with my cousins, we laugh, catch up, and just get a little goofy.

And all is pretty much right with the world.

This four-day weekend in July is an annual tag-up with my roots. I would not trade it for anything.

When I pile my bags and the chairs and towels and food and drinks and presents in my trunk early on Friday morning, and point my car north for the five-hour drive home to Connecticut, what I’m bringing with me isn’t nearly as important as what I’m leaving behind.

For four days, I turn off the news, turn up the music. And the world exists no further than the distance between my chair and the water’s edge.

For a blissful 96 hours, the rhythms of my days are guided by little more than Spotify playlists; finding the best running routes through town; a trip every morning to the coffee shop; and, of course, procuring Prosecco and orange juice for the mimosas on Sunday morning.

There’s subs and tables sagging with trays of baked ziti and eggplant rollatini and a pasta and pesto salad.

The coolers are full. There’s burgers and dogs and hot sausage on the grill. And there’s conversation. And old jokes.

And laughter – so much laughter.

I wasn’t always this good at doing nothing.

For a long time, I thought that if I wasn’t being productive in some way, either by puttering around the house or the yard; by actually doing my job, or engaging in some other planet-improving activity, I was shirking my responsibilities as a human.

John L. Micek
John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.

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