Goofing off for future productivity


It’s important to be self motivated when you work for yourself. This is true regardless of what you do. It’s especially true, and I admit that I’m biased, if the work has anything to do with writing.

One of the tricks about that is knowing yourself well enough to know when you need to buckle down, fight the inner child who just wants to goof off, tell them to go to their naughty mat and stay there, and force yourself to buckle down to get whatever you need to get done done.

It’s just as important to know when it’s playtime. Wash your face. Brush your teeth. It’s time for a little close to home excursion. Yahoo! Clap your hands with excitement.

I don’t know if it’s just the freedom of being able to do what you want, when you want to, or if it elicits traces of the feeling we all got, if and when we played hooky during high school, but taking the time is like reaching through and snatching a bit of the open space for ourselves.

I did that yesterday. It was 31 degrees. I wasn’t staying in my apartment staring at a computer. Are you kidding me?  That would be crazy. I made my way out to Steveston at around 1:30 pm and headed immediately to grab lunch at Pajo’s on the wharf. I ordered the salmon and chips. I said “Yes,” to the tarter sauce. I shouldn’t be eating any of that but tough.  And on a day like yesterday did I feel lucky that I control my own schedule right now? Oh yeah!

I sat at Pajo’s, ate my lunch which was wrapped in newsprint, and soaked up the Vitamin D of the brilliant sunshine.fishnchips

Afterwards, I wandered down to look at all the slippery shiny sockeye fresh off the fish boats backed into the dock. The tourists and locals streamed past. Fingers pointed at which fish they wanted. Shaved ice kept the salmon in the big bags fresh. Caught! Poor Mr. Salmon at life’s end, that remorse mixing with my own anticipation of delicious meals ahead.

As I carried on along the beautiful cement walkway that fronts the river from the little village to the Britannia Shipyards, I admired the sparkling water, the boats, the people clustered in little groups of twos and threes, chatting and walking and drinking coffee at Starbucks. I saw the fishers on the dock. When I arrived at the little recreated historical village, I spoke with a volunteer. I wanted to know what some big ship near the dock was. Did it do research? What was it? “I think it offers luxury excursions,” she said. It was called the Pacific Yellowfin.

I admired the little wooden structures that I’ve been in many times before. I listened to the music from the 1940s. I admired an old phonograph, saw postcards of women in bathing suits, letters from home across a bed. I tried to imagine the life of the people who lived then, worked then, their joys, their sorrows. How hard it must have been and yet the anticipation of building, something, even if it wasn’t clear then.

Outside, I noticed the bull rushes along the shore, the sea grasses,  and the way the sunlight hit the top of the metal roof off the old shipyard building, the sparkles off the water painting everything new. There was one of those yellow pianos on the dock, sitting there, inviting anyone to play it. I touched a note, feeling regret that I used to play, took lessons for years and now, without music, without practice, all that dormant.

I stopped at the gardens behind one of the tiny historical houses and peered in at the last bit of greens and feathery dill.

Mostly I just luxuriated in having time, my own time to do what I wanted with. It’s a luxury and all I’m really trying to say is that it’s good to be grateful (always) but especially when the day unfolds in a way that offers a bit of this and a bit of that, in all the ways that make you happy. The experiences are every bit as tantalizing as the morsels at one of those progressive dinners that used to be popular.  I felt like Mrs. Dalloway minus the high society and the party at the end of the evening.

To compensate I bought my own salmon.

Cutting it up and freezing it later. That’s a story for another day…


  1. That was a beautiful day, wasn’t it. We must have missed you as we were over at the park and had lunch at Pajo’s there, not on the wharf. Your salmon look better though.
    We didn’t go towards the shipyard either, just stopped at Blenz for coffee.

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