by James K. Sayre
Dawdling, or falling behind the group or the family, on a walk was considered bad form and was frowned upon. However, when walking back home from elementary school or junior high school, you could dawdle to your hearts content, as long as you got back home in time for dinner. I have no recollection of owning a pocket watch until at least junior high school. On the way the way home from elementary school, there were many interesting things to see and do. Looking at bugs. Listening to birds. Whistling. Exploring new routes (on a three block walk). Counting the cracks in the sidewalks. Walking slowly and carefully watching to find a penny in the street.
In adult work life, dawdling is probably just a mirror of one of the great Parkinson's Laws, i.e., "the work expands to fill the time (allotted for it)."
In his engineering work life, my father would sometimes just stare out the window, for minutes on end. He told his boss that he was thinking about some engineering problem and a possible solution for it. His boss understood, but said that if his boss saw Bob staring out the window, he might not understand...
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