20 calls it “putzing”. “what did you do today,” we ask. he says, “nothing. i just putzed.” putzing has a way of taking up the day.
my sweet poppo was a world-class putterer. he was happy doing something and happy doing nothing. he’d spend hours at his workbench in the garage in florida, cool damp towel wrapped around his neck. he could fix or make just about anything. hours just puttering. the whole day could go by.
my big brother could tinker in competition with the best of the tinkerers. he would tinker on building projects, home improvements, engines, motors, and all good assorted tinker-able sources. his adoring little sister, i was happiest when i got to sit and watch him tinker.
we road-trip-traveled down south, two friends and i. it was -wow- many years ago now. fans of the paint-a-picture-of-sweet-idle-and-wild-adventure-living j. peterman catalog, we went to the j.peterman (of seinfeld fame) retail store in kentucky. walking in, time slowed down. quiet piano music played overhead and the cool air conditioning of the store was a welcome change from the humid heat outside.
there was an associate acting as hostess who approached us drawling, “good afternooooon. welcome to j. peterman. would you lahhk an ahhsti?” “an asti,” we thought, “would be remarkable!” who wouldn’t like cool bubbly asti spumante on a hot steamy day? we graciously accepted and browsed around the space waiting for our wine glasses to appear, admiring the there-was-a-gentle-breeze-off-the-starboard-side-catching-the-silken-folds-of-her-aqua-dress-as-she-stood-watching-the-sail-raise sundress for $279. time slowed down.
the hostess-associate returned, three tumblers filled with – iced tea- and topped with a lemon wedge. ahhh. ICED TEA. not ASTI. our lounge-y afternoon puttering about the shop with asti in our hands vision disappeared in the breeze off the starboard side (or was that the ceiling fan overhead?) we left, post-beverage, and drove to the j. peterman headquarters where i managed to talk our way in to meet with THE j. peterman in a messy office filled with thoughts and dreams of his company. we entered and he apologized for the mess, telling us he was “puttering” and hadn’t had a chance to pick up. putterers shouldn’t apologize.
i’ve come by trifling with my day honestly. a list-maker, my brain tends to be consumed with lists-of-things-to-do, neatly under different headings, highlighted in order of import. they wake me up at night; they are consuming some days.
but there are some days that lists are not relevant. life days. putzing-puttering-tinkering days. days when frittering time away is the right thing to do, really the only thing to do. you loiter in your happy-doing-something-happy-doing-nothing. and you sit and have an iced tea.