Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

I’m not the first person to say this, nor will I be the last, but I think wasted time gets a bad rap.

I really don’t get that much of it these days, and I miss it.  I’m not just talking about things happening faster—like email instead of mail or microwave instead of ovens.  I’m talking about how, nowadays, no one has to twiddle their thumbs and wait any more.

In fact, when was the last time you even heard about someone twiddling their thumbs?

Twiddling’s as obsolete as the vinyl record.  But that’s not what I’m talking about today.

I’m talking about waiting.  I used to have to wait quite a while at the doctor’s office or the dentist, but they seem to have gotten their appointment booking under control.

I used to have to wait to get my oil changed, but that’s so fast now I can barely read a section of the newspaper.

And I don’t have to read the newspaper because I have an iPod and I can listen to podcasts or any of my favorite songs.

While waiting for the bus, I can also listen to my iPod, but I don’t wait for the bus because Google now has transit schedules integrated into Google maps, and Google maps is available on the iPhone (which I plan to get).

I don’t have to sit through commercials because I have TiVo, and I don’t have to spend much time on hold because I can email my problem to a company.

I don’t have to wait for film to be developed because cameras are digital.

I don’t have to wait for the light to change because there’s a button I can press.

I can renew library books online, and reserve them online.

I don’t have to wait at customs if I get a Nexus pass, and I don’t have to wait at the airport if I check in online (yeah, this is a bit of a stretch, but still), and I don’t have to wait to renew my car registration any more, either.

Even travel—where you used to have to sit on a train for days, you now sit on a plane for hours—and on that plane, you can watch movies, make phone calls, even (any day now) surf the Web.

Speaking of travel, I’m headed to DisneyWorld next month, and I read that they might have a new line-up process that sends you text messages when your spot in line is at the front of the queue, so you can meanwhile be off spending dinero in their gift stores.

* * *

But besides my ability to list things, what does this all mean?

Well, I used to use time spent waiting to think about things.  Things I didn’t have to think about at any particular time, or in any particular order.  I could think about my family, my toes, my next ten meals, my retirement, why fruit starts out all different colors but all turns brown, the girl sitting across from me who keeps leaning forward and whether she shouldn’t have ordered the soup, the word “tigether” as it relates to groups of tigers, my cat Maggie, string, the French, whether I need a hair cut, and the invention that’s going to make me seven million dollars.

Instead, it seems like I spend all my time thinking about what I’m doing at that moment, and what I should be doing, and what I should be doing next.  That’s it, just those three things.

Waiting, especially long stretches of boring waiting, were a way to clear the palette, cleanse the mind between bouts of heavy thinking.

So if any of you need a passport renewed or something equally mundane, please let me know, as I have a backlog of thoughts that need thinking.


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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