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Lost art of proper relaxation

Discussion in 'Skills and Smarts' started by St. Louis, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. When I was a reporter I had my own system of shorthand for notetaking -- they didn't teach it at my high school, so I had made up my own system, and used it for years. Unfortunately, I've forgotten most of it and when I come across one of my old notebooks I can't figure out what it says.
  2. I'll have to locate a good fountain pen.

    A suprising number of my students handwrite notes, about half. Basically the ones paying attention do. I allow laptops, but I assume most of them are disengaged. (I teach adults, if they are non-disruptive I don't police what they do in class.)
    Fading Fast likes this.
  3. My cursive was good enough that my 3rd grade teacher had me go around and 'grade' other kids' writing.

    But the effort it took me to write so well was immense. And the process was slow. To write that neatly while composing forced whatever ideas I may have had to lose their way before being put to paper.

    Then I discovered mechanical drafting classes in high school, and the stylized blocky lettering became my gold standard. I still use a version of it today.

    I was also influenced by my Dad, who was a mechanical draftsman. His table, fluorescent lamp, mechanical pencils, sharpener, straight edges, curve templates, and blocky lettering style were things of fascination to me long before cursive became a part of my world.
  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    cursive 003.jpg
    sheeplady likes this.
  5. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    My father was a truck driver who worked six days a week as well as evenings. His only day off was Sunday. We always went to church and he kept his suit on for the rest of the day most of the time. I don't know when that practice ceased. But I didn't know anyone else who did that, not that I was checking up on anyone or making notes. He otherwise didn't have much time for relaxation, especially since my mother was an invalid (which is why he also worked evening, to pay for the housekeeper we had). Another element of such formality as there was at home was that meals would always and only be consumed at mealtime with everyone present. There was no eating in front of the TV and no snacking, dessert notwithstanding. There was always a dessert. In spite of my mother being an invalid, we still managed to eat out what seems like fairly often, either at a regular sit-down restaurant or at a drive-in restaurant just outside of town, the kind with carhops.

    I'm not so sure that people are outside any less than they used to be but I only have my own experiences to go by. Porch setting is a lost art as is simply sitting down and reading the paper. But porches in the front of the house have been replaced by decks at the back of the house. The grills are going all summer long, at least where I lived, and I never knew anyone who grilled outside when I was little. I did know a couple of people who made apple butter, which was always done outside over an open fire with a big copper kettle. It was an all-day event.

    Again I can't speak for other people but something else that is lost is the simple act of casual visiting among relatives. Of course that requires living relatively close to one another, not fifteen miles away. That sort of takes the casual out of a visit. But my wife does not have a lot of relatives, and only a grand total of two first cousins.

    I have to disagree with the mention of John Keats and his assertion about suburbs. What he said could have been said of any community at the beginning. And nearly all towns were "planned" in some fashion.
  6. Paisley

    Paisley I'll Lock Up

    Same here. I thought this would be about kids staying up half the night texting or grownups working (and goofing off) at all hours. Not too long ago, anyone calling in the middle of the night out of boredom would have gotten an earful and getting more than an occasional personal phone call at work got you into trouble.
  7. Hey! Good to see you back!
  8. Paisley

    Paisley I'll Lock Up

    Thanks, Lizzie! I'm in Indianapolis now. Denver got to be too trendy, crowded and overpriced.
  9. p51

    p51 Practically Family

    Yeah, my wife is pretty old-school and will chew you out if you call much past 9 without a darned good reason. Therefore, nobody calls late at night. I love it.
    Yeah, remember the days when your work considered you were as impossible to reach as if you were on the Moon if you weren't scheduled to work at that time? Thank God I resigned my commission in the Army before cell phones were standard equipment for everyone. My nephew lost his mind and went the same career choice I did, and now he's a slave to his CO calling on his cell at any our of the day or night. I once told him that when I was gone for the day, nobody would be able to reach me (as I never answered my apartment phone unless I recognized the number and it was someone I wanted to talk to). He just sighed and said, "Wow, Uncle Lee, that must have been great..."
    Yeah, it was.
    But how about employers who understaff then never let you have any time off? Where I work now, there's ZERO work/life balance, we can hardly ever get any time off, and half my department has to show up for every weekday holiday. Heck, they even denied my request for time off for jury duty before a manager had to step in and remind them that this wasn't legal.
    When the heck did all this happen? back in the day, you were expected to be gone from the office every now and then.
    St. Louis likes this.
  10. Paisley

    Paisley I'll Lock Up

    I started to hate being available at all hours when I had a pager in the Air Force. I had to be available to photograph things like crime scenes, but mostly it was stupid stuff like cars hitting deer. I figured out early on I didn't want to be working weekdays PLUS weekends and evenings. I also hated being on an electronic leash. Even after all these years, I carry a cell phone, but don't answer it. It's for MY convenience, not for people to bother me when they're bored.
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
    p51, Dixie_Amazon and St. Louis like this.
  11. p51

    p51 Practically Family

    AMEN there!
    When did it become rude not to answer your phone? People used to even say on their answering machines that they were probably screening their calls and nobody went bonkers at that. But now, if you don't answer your cell, people lose their darned minds.
    My cell is for if I need to call and if my wife (or parents) need to reach me. Other that that, I'll answer if and when I feel like it, thank you very much.
  12. Paisley

    Paisley I'll Lock Up

    I got a cheap flip phone to have while moving across the country. I'm glad I did, but my mother and a friend here started constantly calling me. Once I quit answering the cell phone and started using my landline to take calls--you know, talking on the phone when I wasn't supposed to be working or getting chores done--they stopped the constant calling.

    This friend did point out that a man who'd occasionally sent her the text late at night, "U up?" could have been sending it to 15 different women.

    OTOH, for the victims of telephone harassers who had their lives turned upside-down by someone who wouldn't stop calling, the cell phone, with caller ID and the option to get a new number quickly and cheaply, must have been a godsend.
  13. I am one of those people who doesn't answer her phone everything it rings.

    I tell my students you can call me 9am to 9pm. I have my phone blocked after 9pm to all but my husband's number. If it's a true emergency, a person will keep calling. Or leave a message.

    I started getting really aggressive with not answering the phone when we had the kids. While I was home with my daughter (right after she was born), I found that lots of people expected me to answer *immediately* and if I didn't I was dead in a ditch or something. Made some people beyond angry that I explained that being in the middle of a diaper change, feeding, or even reading a book to my daughter took priority over a chat, and I would call them back when she was calm and I would be able to talk.
  14. five6seven8

    five6seven8 New in Town

    I'm another person very much of the opinion that technology exists to serve my needs, not vice versa. I was a late adopter when it came to mobile phones - I only bought one in about 1999 because I wanted to be able to leave the house rather than wait in for phone calls from temp agencies. Ironically enough the house I'm sharing with friends at present doesn't have a landline phone at all; when I moved in I was startled to realise I don't actually technically need one.

    As to the letter-writing brigade, I'm definitely a fan of it - I write to a couple of friends longhand with my beloved fountain pens, and to my elderly great-aunt who understands the value of that sort of thing. I'd love to have more reason to write to people. I find that I can't take typed notes at all - going through university in the late 1990s all my notes were written longhand and typing seems to take my concentration away from listening.

    My handwriting is extremely fast although it's nothing my schoolteachers would be proud of - I remember deciding when learning cursive as a child to optimise for speed rather than perfection of form! Earlier this year I realised that I'd taken that so far that my average shopping list now rather looks like the results of an alcoholic cranefly trying to walk home, so now I'm trying to learn copperplate to improve myself a little. I might well look into Spencerian script too, which is the cursive that was taught in schools, especially in America, in the early part of the 20th century - I think it's where the lovely handwriting of my late grandmother and my great-aunt comes from.
  15. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    The best way to avoid technology that you don't care for is to not need it, which I will admit is easier said than done. I don't have a cell phone but obviously I have access to the internet and free use of a computer. I don't write letter to friends because I have no friends. I don't wear a watch because it usually doesn't matter what time it is and anyway, I'm surrounded by things with clocks, like on this computer screen. Frankly, I appreciate it even more because it also displays the date.

    Sometimes, when I think about it, it is as if I am stuck in time, sometime between 1955 and 1965 (randomly selected years). When that time period passed by, which happened around 1970, it was as if nothing much mattered after that. That's a slight exaggeration, of course, but I go about my everyday life as if most of the things that are talked about the most don't exist. The Kardashians make no difference in my life; I don't need a fantasitic new flashlight; I don't live where it floods; I'm not worried about the country being invaded; college or professional sports (grown men playing games) don't interest me and I can even live without quinoa.
  16. Quinoa? Wasn't he a second baseman for the 1985 Cleveland Indians? Sure, Junior Quinoa -- good field, no hit. Saw him play for the Maine Guides before he came up to the big club.

    Absolutely agree on the "need" thing. I use what technology I need, for work or whatever, and don't see any point beyond that. I wear a watch because I need to know what time it is, but I don't need to know it to the exact split second. I run movies, I don't launch space rockets. All my friends I see at work or around town, and I don't need to know what they're doing every breathing moment of the day. I don't need a tablet computer because the old laptop I got for free works fine for what I need a portable computer for. I don't need a refrigerator that dispenses water out the door because the one I have has a door that opens so I can get to the water jug inside. I have several used Mac Minis in my office at home that I've rigged up to run programming for my Part 15 AM transmitters, because there's nothing else on AM radio worth listening to anymore. That's my Immersive Home Entertainment system.
  17. I took the day off and headed for the coast.
    Have a view of the ocean,
    sound of the seagulls & waves.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  18. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    You know, sometimes it seems like it takes a lot of effort to relax, but in a negative way. You go out of your way to avoid certain things. But on the other hand, it rather depends on what your idea of relaxing is. Curling up with a book or a stack of old National Geographic's on a rainy day is one way to relax, provided there's no one goading you into doing something useful. In fact, I might go out on a limb and suggest that for some people in the past, relaxing was very much an activity, rather than a non-activity. Dining and dancing, once a virtual standard Saturday night activity for some folks might have been considered relaxation, if not exactly relaxing, if you follow me. Was listening to an old-time radio show like Lum and Abner relaxing? Or entertainment? But as I mentioned earlier in another post, my father never did any of those things that I recall, yet he was very relaxed and easy-going, as were others of his generation that I knew. But some were less so.
  19. I find I'm becoming more like Greta Garbo everyday: I vant to be alone...to relax.

    There is always something: work, a bill to pay, a leak here, a something needs fixing there, a call, email, text from this person or that to read or return, a tax thing to do, a form to fill out, a this or that to be picked up or dropped off, a must log on to this site or that one, the thing needs its batteries / filter / bag replaced, it just goes on and on.

    I am happiest if I can honestly say, on a Saturday or Sunday, I have nothing to do. Then I can grab a book, sit down and read, nap, turn on the TV, turn off the TV, reads some more, nap some more without something I have to do hanging out there. The absence of having to do something is where relaxing begins.
  20. Count me as another who doesn't own a smartphone, and the cell I do have is turned off 95% of the time. With landlines and email addresses both at home and at work, I already feel too encumbered with connections. I'm not on Facebook either, and my (mostly turned off) phone is set to not accept text messages.

    Even though I've been active on forums like this one (and mailing lists before that) for decades, I simply refuse to be on-call all the time, or to get sucked into an unending vortex of tweets and a-holes' pointless POVs, or get caught up in the latest micro-fixation we're supposed to really care about. Yeah, I know that humanity is evolving into some kind of new networked group mind, but I don't see that that's an improvement, and I prefer to go my own way. I've always been a true nonconformist who never cared about most mainstream "likes", and now that I'm an incipient geezer, I'm happy to relax by watching stuff (on a TV, never the computer), listening to music (on a stereo with CDs/LPs/cassettes, never via streaming or dinky digital files), reading books, hiking in the woods, etc.

    I agree that the ability to really relax is indeed becoming a lost art! Most of the people I see these days appear to be complete slaves to their smartphones, never being fully present where they actually ARE. I don't understand it at all.

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