The stock enquiry, “What did you do today?” is I have decided elliptical for “What did you do today to bring you one step closer to your goal?” Not “for your country” or “to save the world“. And I suspect there is inherent a nasty corollary, “If you do tomorrow what you did today, you will get tomorrow what you got today.” Not exactly sure what that means though my sense is that we’d better get cracking!
Any recapitulation of my day, whether the effort is a purely functional private reminiscence or intended to be an evocative account to be shared with others, usually begins with a glance at my diary. I say “diary” but of course that archaic bound book of lined paper was long ago replaced by an electronic “calendar” which is streamed from one of my devices (smart phone, tablet or laptop computer) to the other. Nonetheless the engrained tradition of consulting my diary is one wrought from years of routine business application, perhaps initially an exemplification of the busy state of my office and laterally a reminder that I was becoming increasingly forgetful.
The calendar is for me a grounding, at the very least a starting point, something as close as possible to a clean slate without being entirely meaningless. It enables me to see (or at least imagine that I am seeing) a span of time, perspective if you will. It gives me an abstract view of the world garnished with certain personalized features of my life. I am quick to add that the “view” which I prefer for my calendar is not the day or the week but the month. The day view is far too narrow to afford any sense of context; the week view is cluttered with nothing but commitments and as a result lacks any dynamic flavour. The month view by contrast captures the ups and downs of life, the fast and slow times, in short the big picture. Rather like a corporate graph. Not to suggest that accountants have a fix upon the universe, surely in order to understand life one needs to see the big picture. How often have we not suffered the futile anxiety of exigent detail only to learn subsequently that patience would have solved the niggling dilemma? Thus my deliberately abstract view of my calendar is by design a technique to distance myself from the convoluted particulars of life in order to discern the broad pattern. I think you’ll grant me that the chronicle of life and the characterization of people is more one of structure than components. We all have basically the same elemental features but it is our arrangements and schemes which distinguish us.
Anyway as usual I am tiresomely prolix. This introduction was meant only to illustrate that a foundation must be established before the superstructure follows. Even in matters as trite as one’s daily experiences, one must start somewhere. So, to bring this to a head, let me report accordingly that a glance at my calendar disclosed we hadn’t a great deal happening. While this may sound – especially in light of the preceding amplification – both laughable and pitifully regrettable, in fact it is neither. Lately for example our time has been consumed by meetings which quite frankly were for the benefit of others. I am not complaining; it was fulfillment of a duty. But this is only to say that when the opportunity arises to do anything or nothing at all without fear of shirking a duty, that is a good thing.
Peculiarly having a wide-open agenda is not without its challenge. I mean to say, we’re not travel agents! And we’ve visited most nearby places many times already. So where does one go on a sunny autumn day without having to pack a bag or bring a passport?
Luckily for us we chose a route which was not our customary one and we ended getting lost. Lost is too strong a word for it; we just weren’t sure if we had been on those roads before. It turns out that we hadn’t (as we later determined when returning home). The alchemy of distraction worked its magic and before long we were far from where we had intended to go and quite content to be there. A bit of novelty can go a long way!
I don’t know about you but I am an inveterate shopper. I have however become rusty in that department. Believe it or not there comes a point in life when you really don’t need anything else. It was thus all the more serendipitous today that we stumbled in succession upon two stores which alerted my acquisitive instinct. I had lately subliminally harboured the need for two items in particular and suddenly there we were at their very threshold. It lubricated the shopping experience that each of the sales clerks was intelligent and helpful. Coincidentally we had entered the emporia mid-afternoon at a time when traffic was slow. In case you care, one item I bought was a small dark brown leather wallet for credit cards and dollar bills; the other a casual but staid windbreaker. I won’t bore you with the arresting features of each; suffice it to remark that I am pleased with them.
What crowned our aimless adventure was a return to a restaurant we’ve frequented before and found distinctly to our liking. Again we were not disappointed. Even though we’re currently on what is primarily a vegetarian diet we were able to secure both compliance with the regiment and plenty of taste. Our overarching Stoicism allowed us to wave a dismissive hand to the waitress on the subject of dessert. A mere café espresso was our limit.
The place? Kingston, Ontario. The restaurant? Atomica.