An afternoon off

Let me start off by admitting that managing work-life balance is not one of my strengths. I tend to get wrapped up in the various projects I’m working on, and it just so happens that I have a lot of them competing for my attention right now. I truly enjoy genuine down time, but I don’t build enough of it into my schedule.

Yesterday I waved the white flag of surrender, dropped a book and some magazines into my backpack, and took the subway into downtown Boston. There I went to a Pret a Manger sandwich shop/cafe, bought some lunch, and commandeered a comfortable seat and small table for the afternoon. Pret is a chain, and I’ve noticed that each Pret store tends to adapt to its space and location in terms of look & feel. This Pret is odd in a good way. It’s in the heart of the city’s Downtown Crossing area, and it’s very busy during peak weekday hours. However, outside of those times, it feels more like a spacious, hang out-type cafe. Plus, the food and beverages are good.

The book was a strategic choice: Don Winslow’s The Force, a gritty and gripping cop novel set in today’s New York City. It’s really, really, really good. Between various obligations and the overall state of the world, I’ve had trouble maintaining focus on books read purely for pleasure, but The Force is drawing me in easily. Winslow is a great storyteller who has done his homework on creating a realistic backdrop. If you like your crime/suspense novels in the cozy zone, then I’d suggest skipping this one. But if you like them with big doses of in-your-face real, then I highly recommend it.

Anyway, now that I’ve done a few product endorsements (Pret and Winslow, you’re welcome), back to my point about taking an afternoon off. Being a nostalgic sort, this reminded me of days as a young Legal Aid lawyer in New York City. Money was tight, so vacations involving travel were out of the question. Instead, I found myself using vacation time in one and two day chunks, taking what are now called staycations. One of my favorite pastimes was to pack a few books and find a place to read them over a cheap lunch and something to drink.

This made for a welcomed afternoon mini-vacation. I need to do this more often. A good book, some coffee and a morsel or two, and I’m good to go for the next time!

3 responses

  1. Oh, David that sounds sooooooooooo good. I am working two jobs this summer. Leaving the library was bad for me financially but good for my soul. I am in a better place (most of the time). But I am still busy, busy. I am going to do this soon, though. Maybe even tomorrow!

    • Chris, I hope you will indeed give yourself an afternoon with a book and something good to eat and drink!

      I’m glad the soul is being replenished after that difficult endgame at the library. Take care!

  2. Your mini afternoon break sounds blissful!!
    Well done.
    Regards

    Ms Pritima Osman
    Child Justice, Children’s Courts
    and Departmental Drug Master Plan
    Dept. of Justice and Constitutional Development
    National Office
    Pretoria

    Landline: 012 357 8205
    Fax : 0866402076
    Email: POsman@justice.gov.za

    “May you use those gifts you have received.” Saint Theresa

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