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.

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

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