Day 684: Down time

Earlier this week, I wrote about a down day (here, although I called it something different).

I was very happy to get through and over that down day, very quickly.

This morning, I woke up thinking, “THANK GOODNESS I have some down time this weekend.”

That’s a very different use of the word “down,” isn’t it?

For anybody who needs a definition at this point, “down time” means:

time during which a machine, especially a computer, is out of action or unavailable for use.
a time of reduced activity or inactivity.
“everyone needs downtime to unwind”

Here’s what I’m noticing now about that definition:

  1. machines get first billing and
  2. the way I’m using “down time” in this post  is regional, which means this usage might be new to some of my readers.

You know, I might be particularly sensitive to machines getting attention  because of this: I’ve depended on cardiac pacemakers since I was ten years old. And let me tell you, I’ve spent some of the last 51 years worrying about pacemakers having “down time “(because pacemakers did break, wear out, and prematurely lose power early on in their — and my — life).

Thank goodness, modern pacemakers don’t have as much down time as the old ones did.

I want to tell you about my day yesterday, when I did NOT have a lot of down time, as I went to one Boston hospital to get medical care and then to another Boston hospital to do my work (I’m a psychotherapist for a hospital-based primary care practice) and then to a comedy show, with my 16-year-old son, Aaron.

Since I do have lots of down time today, I’m glad  I can relax as I write this post about yesterday.

As Wordsworth said,

That will be 50 dollars, please.

No, wait. That’s not Wordsworth the poet. That’s Wordsworth the plumber.

If you don’t think what I just did in this post is funny, feel free to use — instead of plumber  — an occupation of somebody else who has charged you money. Or perhaps, you could make this funnier by changing the dollar amount, like so:

As Wordsworth said,

That will be 5 dollars, please.

No, wait. That’s not Wordsworth the poet; that’s Wordsworth the Starbucks barista.*

Where was I, before that particular tangent (which was down or up, according to your perspective)?

Oh, yes. Wordsworth the poet. As I remember — from my years as an English major in college — Wordsworth said poetry was

emotion recollected in tranquility

… and while I can’t guarantee that this post will be poetic in any way, I am happy to have the tranquility of today’s down time, to recollect the emotions, thoughts, and images I experienced yesterday.

I don’t know about you, but I smell a photo essay coming on.

How I Spent My Day Yesterday

by Ann

Since I start every day writing a blog post, yesterday’s post — “Safety First” — was on my mind, as I arrived at the hospital for my medical appointment.


IMG_2176 IMG_2178

After my appointment yesterday, I stopped by — in the same hospital — the place I go for my periodic pacemaker checks, and I saw two familiar people:


Valerie, who told me she is looking forward to the winter weather here (!!!!) and Melanie


who has appeared in posts before (here, here, and here).

Even though I didn’t have a scheduled appointment with her yesterday — and I’m sure Melanie does NOT have a lot of down time — Melanie took some time to talk to me about how I’ve been feeling lately. When I told her about some of my worries regarding recent shortness of breath and my wondering if I was okay, Melanie said, reassuringly:

You ARE okay, Ann, and you WILL BE okay.

I believed her and I cried — a little — from relief.

Melanie then asked me when my next appointment was — for a pacemaker check and to see Dr. Estes (one of my cardiologists who has appeared or been mentioned here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). I said, “I’m not sure, but I THINK it’s soon.” (That might sound like I’m too busy and I need more down time, but I do have lots of medical appointments these days and I know I’m seeing my other cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, in December.) Later, when I had some down time, I discovered that my appointment with Pacemaker Clinic and Dr. Estes is next week. I’m glad to know I’ll be seeing Valerie and — perhaps — Melanie, even sooner than I thought.

Here are more things I saw yesterday, soon after my up time with Melanie:

IMG_2181 IMG_2182 IMG_2185

I was very perplexed by that last image, in a Fenway Park lot. Because I had a little bit of down time before my first appointment at work, I investigated further, by walking around to get a better view:


I was still confused by what I was seeing, and so were other people there, too.


That’s Omar, calling over to Joe


and asking Joe our shared question: “What is going on here?”

Joe told us they were setting up a “Spartan Race”  — an obstacle course taking place inside and outside Fenway Park — for thousands of people.

“Spartan Race,” Omar, and Joe were all initially unfamiliar to me, but I greatly appreciated the introductions. I also appreciated meeting Al


shown, there, with Joe. Al told me he was part of program called “Project Place” which was helping him get “back on my feet.” I told Al I was glad to hear that. And, I showed Omar how he could find this blog.

Here are some more photos I took, yesterday:

IMG_2191 IMG_2192 IMG_2193


I took that photo, last night, at Johnny D’s in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. That’s Tony V — a comedian I’ve seen many times since the 1980’s — telling a pacemaker joke. I’m not kidding.

My son, Aaron, wondered last night whether it was okay for me to snap that picture of Tony V. I told him it probably was, since we were outside the performance area, at that point.  Soon, though, we got some great down time — that is, we were sitting down in great seats, watching Emo Philips (who has appeared in previous posts here, here, here, and here) do an amazingly funny show. And here are my last two images, from yesterday:

IMG_2196 IMG_2197

Boy, wouldn’t it be great to have enough down time for THAT MUCH popcorn?

Thanks to Aaron, Valerie, Melanie, Omar, Joe, Al, Tony, Emo, the nice staff at Johnny D’s, and everybody else who has ever had any down time or up time, ever.

Well, I think I thanked everybody there (including you, I hope!), but I forgot one thing: a video for this post.

How about this?

(Emo Philips, in a 1987performance at Harvard University, found here on YouTube)

* I’m assuming, here, that you are living in a region where you can go to a Starbucks, like me, to get a few minutes of down time.

Categories: humor, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Day 684: Down time

  1. Busy, busy, busy yesterday for you Ann. Wow. You ran like you were in a Spartan race. Enjoy your down time today. Or is this the drive to Worcester to see Metheny? That’s up time, to me.

    • Hi, Mark! I just got back from downtown, where I ran smack into the Spartan Race, by accident. Not enough down time for me today, and tomorrow is Metheny in Worcester. I’ll try to take it slow for the rest of today. Thanks for the uptime of your comment.

  2. I love down time. I also love little independent coffeehouses. We have a wonderful one in my town, and on Mondays and Wednesdays I can get a mocha latte for $2! Other days it’s $3.50. Guess which days I go?

    • My guess is Mondays and Wednesdays, Emilie. Aren’t I a good guesser? I like little independent businesses, too. Somehow, I’ve gotten attached to people at Starbucks. And, I am very attached to your visits and comments.

  3. I’m glad you have some down time this weekend, Ann, and hope you don’t have to spend it with Wordsworth the plumber. For me, it is frazzled-end-of-term time. But, sunny!

    • Wordsworth the plumber is actually very nice and I’ll probably be seeing him soon. I’m glad I’m not spending the weekend with Wordsworth the Wanker (whoever he is). I’m also glad to hear it’s sunny where you are, Maureen, and I hope you get some down time among all the end-of-term work. Thanks for taking the time to drop by, today!

  4. Well, if Wordsworth the plumber is nice to hang around with, what could be better than to spend some time with him? You may come out of it with a working toilet, and be able to scratch off one of the things on your ‘not love’ list.

  5. Love your down time!

  6. I have a felling the best part of your ‘downtime’ was spent yesterday with your son, Aaron.

    Here’s hoping you enjoy some freedom tomorrow too. 🙂

  7. Valerie

    I love it! You are such an awesome person. And I’m so blessed to have met you,as a Patient in the Arrhythmia Center. And I can’t wait to see you Thursday!!!

  8. Hmm, I’m kind of hung up on the Safety notice for patients about soliciting, trespassing and weapons. How could it possibly work? Is there anyone who would expect any of these things to be OK? Is there anyone who planned to do these things who would change their minds because of the notice? Are there some individuals who would see these as suggestions or even as challenges worth a go? The Welcome bit seems fine, but the rest seems… counterproductive?

    • I was curious about all that, too, Hilary. There are so many signs I see that make me wonder about the sign-poster’s intent and expectation. My best guess is that a sign like that does not necessarily influence the sign-reader to not do or do anything; it’s more for the legal protection of the poster. (I’m imagining this legal argument in court: See! We TOLD them not to bring weapons in! Now will you give them a longer jail sentence?) But I’m not an expert in these matters … maybe another reader is and will add a comment.

      I’m also thinking that sign is meant to increase the sense of safety of those who would never bring weapons in — “See! We’re on top of this!” But speaking for myself, seeing the word “weapon” increased my anxiety.

      As always, my sign is “Welcome, Hilary, and Thank You For Visiting.” And by the way, I read your novel “Borderline” whenever I get some down time, and I’m enjoying it.

  9. Hi Ann . Glad to here that you have enjoyed your down time :).

    Oh , I love having down time . It’s good for health , to feel refresh again and to enjoy the small gestures and activities that are ignored in the usual speedy pace of life.

    • Thank you, mk, for this visit and the wonderful description of the benefits of down time. I have to make sure I listen to you: slow down, feel refreshed, and enjoy the small things in life.

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  12. Very, very funny. I first him on radio and he had me in stiches.

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