Wrote this a bajillion years ago. Now, I live in a different city, a busier city, and I find that I still value slowness more than ever.
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Over coffee and numerous cigarettes, I chatted away while he listened, occasionally nodding or giving out remarks of contradiction. He wanted to go home as soon as dinner was over but I managed to drag him to a nearby coffeeplace. It was early and I didn’t want to go home yet. For him (and probably for a lot of people), sitting for a long period of time without anything real to do but sit, talk, sip coffee and inhale smoke is a waste of time—being idle like that is nonsensical, but I wanted to convince him that it’s not. Because of my new job, my schedule has now allowed me to be part of the normal work hours. It goes like this: work, dinner, a time to clear my head before heading home, then a restful slumber for more than six hours every day. I wake up without feeling groggy or tired because I lack sleep. That moment of clearing my head acts as my de-stresser, it usually involves having dinner or coffee or a quick, aimless stroll at the mall. And I don’t consider it a wasteful use of time. Perhaps doing it everyday does seem extravagant. I must admit I don’t have that luxury, but I grab the chance as much as I can. I look forward to sharing how my day went to another person and listening to what transpired on theirs. Or perhaps simply using that “idle time” to just think about anything other than “I have a deadline on ___ and have to finish it by ___”.
Conversations like what happened this evening are important to me. I value conversations in general—over ym, coffee talks, or inuman sessions (back in college, I looked forward to having long debates with my classmates over bottles of beer or rounds of tagayan). It gives me a chance to voice out any idea or opinion I have to another human being, and in turn, also learn something from them. It helps me have a better grasp of what’s happening around me. People have always interesting things to say, no matter how seemingly trivial some stories are. Serious or comical, thought-provoking or fabrications, these stories are still theirs, and I always have something new to discover from them. It’s a symbiosis kind of thing, really.
These stories are like documentaries happening right in your face, it just depends on how you’ll make it useful as your own. Do you simply dismiss them? Maybe, if they seem irrelevant. Or perhaps you treasure them if you find them profound or inspiring. Why do we even read books, watch movies, listen to music, or get awed by amazing artworks? These all stemmed from a story, an experience from a person who’s willing enough to share it. And I think we all have this certain need, a yearning, to be part of this loop: the sharer and the receiver.
But more often than not, these stories are revealed during a particular “idle time”. It would be hard to imagine a great piece of literature or a phenomenal film done in haste. It takes a moment of reflection and remembering, dismissing the insignificant and dwelling on the essential. It’s filtering the story before revealing the end product. These things are rarely slaves of speed.
Most people would shun the idea of being indolent, and would gear on having everything fast-paced. There’s nothing wrong with this. After all, we are living in a modern world where everything is immediately accessible. But there’s also something sweet about slowness, those small talks on coffee breaks, those casual, unmonumental conversations, endless debates, swapping stories, leisurely musings. You’ll never know when something extraordinary might come out of it.