Thursday, March 28, 2024


An unbiased interpretation of hurkle-durkle.

Hurkle-durkle. No, not the first draught of the lyrics of Helter Skelter, but a word, of Scottish origin, to describe lounging in bed when one should be up and about. Apparently, some time ago this word became a meme on social media that I clearly overlooked while busy experiencing reality in real life. I realize to those of you with children or more than one job, that the idea of lounging about is not only remote but perhaps even angering. Merely thinking that someone else has such leisure may be triggering for you. I assure you, to those of us without children, that having such time is a luxury that is never unappreciated.

It was on a recent Sunday when I hurkle-durkled my way to idly watch online videos, read inconsequential articles and flip lazily through a book or two. How was it that time, essentially poorly spent, was such a luxury? Just as scarcity creates value, abundance depreciates it. If you have too much free time, it's boring. Only when you're busy do you find the gaps with nothing planned, nothing scheduled, without errands or chores to do, that time feels as luxurious as high thread count cotton. Leisure like this can feel like a pause in a meal when you enjoy the scent of wine in your mouth, or chocolate melting on your tongue.

So it was that I enjoyed the nothingness. I could've easily manufactured some busyness. Laundry could've been laundered, dust could've been swept, bills could've been paid, e-mail read or written, groceries procured, but all of it took a backseat to this most important of tasks. The task of not doing any tasks. The absence of tasks.

I'm reminded of reading about a book, Voyage Around My Room, written by Xavier de Maistre while under house arrest, in which the author describes his room as if part of a travelogue. Within the boredom of his confinement, he discovers an appreciation for the smallest details of life. Sure, some may call it a "stay-cation" but I like to think of it more as a vacation from myself. A holiday from my everyday. It was like I was on an all-expenses paid trip where my bed was the cruise liner.

It should come as no surprise, a fair amount of guilt had to be ignored if I were to truly enjoy this decadence. It seems this kind of guilt is built into a society that despite our many advances believes that your time is better spent by working, regardless of what the work is. This is true in religious communities, capitalist countries, socialist countries and, despite the stated goal of setting the worker free, communist countries. Even in the laziest of modern occupations, the "influencer" is a job where people who found success are quitting as the demand for content has led to a kind of creator burnout. This demand on us to busy ourselves seems to me, to be the single biggest factor in suppressing creativity. Though let's be honest, there is much creative work made while in the middle of a grinding schedule. In fact, there are plenty of people who will say they were at their peak creativity while at the same time, at their peak productivity. Many people, be they entrepreneurs or artists had their best ideas while they were also at their most prolific. Yet that just isn’t sustainable. I’m in this life for the long haul. I’m not aiming to be the flame that burns twice as bright for half the time. I want my creative life to simmer on the back burner, always bubbling at the ready, always warm to the touch. If a little hurkle-durkle helps maintain a frothy fermentation, then so be it.

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