Allow Me to Waste a Few Minutes of Your Time
Posted by Alan Edwards
What you are doing, right now, is reading the words that I’ve just finished typing. During the time that you are spending reading them, you could have done a million other things. You could have studied for some important exam. You could have started learning a foreign language that no one has even invented yet. You could have worked on that project your boss dropped on your desk or stared moodily at the ceiling or gotten some more coffee or chatted up that looker from down the hall or whatever. But you didn’t. You’re reading this, and I’m wasting your time.
It’s the highest compliment I can ever be paid.
Whatwhatwhat?! Yes, I like to waste your time. Most people start with some speech about how someone could be doing XXX instead of sitting inside doing YYY as a way to make people feel guilty about not spending their time more wisely. Allow me to retort on behalf of all of us who have to hear this bit moralizing judgmental bullshit: Go. Fuck. Yourself. Seriously, go ahead. Instead of bemoaning the heathens who’d rather spend time doing XXX, why don’t you find a nice quiet room all by yourself and just go to town and leave us alone. You don’t think we feel guilty enough? Is there anybody who doesn’t wish they spent more time that day playing with their kid or their dog or weeding the garden or trying to give a fuck about their job or letting their significant other know how much they love them or any of the other million things we want to squeeze into every day that’s too goddamn short for all the stuff we want to do? You think that it’s really necessary to act all high-and-mighty about that shit? Because I don’t. I think we’ve all got the guilt thing going quite nicely, and if someone DOESN’T feel guilty, then why ruin their fucking bubble of happiness just because you didn’t get to play catch with the Old Man more when you were a kid? That just makes you an asshole.
I like to waste your time, because I like it when others waste my time. So, ah, yes, here’s the catch. When I say Waste Your Time, I’m talking about something that you do when you should be doing something more Productive, or Important, or Meaningful, or any of that, because I can damn sure guarantee that reading the shit I say is none of those things. So if you are going to waste your time reading my writing, then the least I can do is entertain you. Maybe make you laugh, maybe cry, sometimes angry, whatever. You go through the work to read what I say, then I need to at least be the equivalent of Swamp People or something and give you something to read when you want to avoid something else more Responsible.
To me, that is the essence of wasting time. I waste time every fucking day. I read blogs and news posts I don’t care about and articles about economics and eight tons of anything I can every day, and that’s just when I’m supposed to be working. The books I read could be about accounting or things relevant to my career or involve personal growth or something Meaningful. They aren’t. I read Stories. Sometimes I learn stuff, or become a better writer, or other things along the way, but that’s not the purpose behind it. I read to be entertained, to take my mind off the shit I have to face the next day or the next hour or next minute. I read blog posts written by people who tell stories or share their viewpoint of the world, people who I’d much rather be hanging out with and chatting with but I can’t so I kick back and listen to them give a Shakespearean soliloquy about whatever subject they feel like talking about. I can’t interrupt them or change the subject or any of the other rude shit we do to each other every day. I have to just sit there and take it. And I love that. It forces me to listen, and it gives people who are hesitant in person to just speak their mind, all of it, until they’re done. I’m like that. Unless I’m really comfortable (or really drunk – really drunk AND really comfortable can be a whole other realm of Speechifyin’), I don’t talk a lot, even with people I know. I tend to listen more, but writing this allows me the freedom to say what I want. You can even walk away, and I won’t even know it. It’s perfect.
Anyway, the thing I strive to do, whether I’m writing a blog or a novel or short story or even a damn Facebook update or Twitter post is to entertain you. I want you to get a chance to escape from the Should Be Doings to the Glad I Did Thats. You might say that if you enjoy it, it’s not a waste of time, which is fine, fair enough. But you could have learned Mandarin, or at least started to, and you read this anyway. So, sure, you probably wasted your time. I’d say that’s a pretty good bet, heh.
One of the best compliments about my novel came from a friend who said this: “Thanks for a fine few hours of entertainment.” That’s the most I can ask for. My novels or stories aren’t going to enrich you or give you insights about life or teach you to be a Highly Effective Corporate Drone. I wrote a freaking Zombie Fantasy novel, which is about as far from relevance as a story can get. But damn, if I can give you a few seconds or minutes or hours of entertainment, then I feel good about that. It’s all about the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others and all that. I want you to give me something to read and waste my time. I’ll try to do the same for you.