Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dime Time

One of the truths I've heard about self-employment is a tendency to work when there's work to be had to the detriment of spare time, which cannot be called "free time" because time is no longer "free" (as if it ever were), all of your time being on your dime. Those who work for others, feel free to disagree and brag about all the hours you put in. I remember that not being able to count on someone else giving me a paycheck of a certain amount every period took some getting used to.

My morning run pointed out the cost of dime time.

Although I didn't run as far as I often do, I was out there longer. First, I ran into SJ walking his dog and we got to talking, about the 22 pistol in his hoodie's pocket, which he was about to pull out when he heard my feet pounding up behind him (had I known that I would have yelled hello SJ earlier), twisting the necks of rabbits destined for pan-fry, building a windmill near a mountain cabin, the increasing affordability of solar power (now at par with the grid in many instances), reading Mother Earth News for 20 years, digging gardens by hand, using Subaru parts to fix a 1952 Ford 8N tractor like the one at yesterday's Effinger Auction (yes I could learn some engineering at our advanced age, both of us being within a year of 60), finding enough manure (for which I offered a solution because I know a guy who will load you up for free), killing wiregrass with agricultural vinegar, using muriatic acid to clean the two-thirds full 5-gallon bucket of copper pennies he found next to the dumpster over near the Natural Bridge (who would abandon so many pennies because they were too dirty to roll?), a wife who's apparently become addicted to online gaming and says she exercises on a treadmill while he walks but probably doesn't (48 years younger than a certain person I know who recently finished something like her 18,000th game of FreeCell and still exercises at least three days a week), the mammoth "jacks" in our field, spaquaponics, and white roof coverings reflecting sunlight to keep houses cooler. 

No sooner had I left SJ than I stopped in the Trading Post parking lot among four fifty- to sixty-something males soaking up the sunlight that had just broken through what's been a dependably gray sky (actually it was the beginning of a clearing that led to a blue-sky afternoon). "Did Karen like her cake?" I asked KC, who we'd seen waiting at the Wal-Mart (oh no, I let that one slip) cake counter yesterday. "Yep, she ate some for breakfast." "Good," I said, "that's what cakes are for, like donuts." "This is the first time I've seen those steel legs stopped," one familiar-looking fellow said through the window of his pickup. I responded, "My Karen suggested a couple days ago that maybe they don't stop enough."

"Is that what you meant by the cost of dime time?" says Virginia.

That's part of it. Hide away working and you'll never hear the compliments of strangers. More important, you'll miss out on life passing outside your window.

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