I make the forty-minute commute to and from work five days a week. Sometimes I feel guilty for not making productive use of my time. Productive in the sense of getting things done. Crossing things off my to do list. Making myself a better person, also known as listening to an audiobook or Rosetta Stone.
With smartphones, this multitasking should be a no brainer. I can push the microphone button and create a to do list with my voice while driving. Instead, I fiddle with the radio stations. Some mornings, I’m in need of soothing piano music and I tune in to the classical music station. Other days, I need to hear some cheesy 80s pop – its rah rah rah chorus cheering me on for the hours ahead.
Many mornings, I engage in what I fondly refer to as Truly Stupid Daydreams. I put on Crosby Stills & Nash and imagine my little boy trio playing the instruments and harmonizing – an adorable little boy band, but cool instead of cringeworthy.
In real life, my boys take piano and are going into beginner band in middle school. They do well in their lessons, but they aren’t prodigies. It’s not even apparent at this point that they’re talented. But they enjoy the lessons, and I enjoy listening to the music. My boys’ piano teacher just tasked one of my boys with God Bless The Child (!!!) I had the pleasure of playing the penultimate Billie Holiday version for him to help him hear it while he’s learning to play it. I try to live in reality so I don’t expect my boys will do much with music in the way of careers. Perhaps they’ll try out for jazz band or march in the halftime shows during high school football games. But in my daydreams, they’ll forever be the second coming of the Kingston Trio.
I know there are parents who engage in similar daydreams -although the moppet troubadours of my daydreams might be replaced with Wheaties box champions or perhaps the more attainable dream of a doctor in the family. And who can watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee every year without daydreaming about a snowstorm of confetti floating down around their child, the last one standing in this battle royal for brainiacs?
My son often catches me daydreaming. He enjoys waving his hand in front of my face to snap me out of my reverie. I’m not embarrassed that he’s caught me in a moment of escape. Is it any different to read a book, watch a movie, or play a video game? We all need our time away from the rinse and repeat cycle of life. Without these flights of fancy, life might begin to seem like a marathon of Groundhog Day.
If you’re an unapologetic daydreamer like me, take comfort in the company you keep. Remember Ralphie’s melodramatic imaginings in A Christmas Story? Well, he got the Red Ryder, didn’t he? (We’ll forget for a moment about the ricocheting bb that traumatized poor Ralphie at the end of the movie). If Ralphie isn’t good enough company for you, how about Einstein? The internet is rife with claims that his daydreams resulted in his theory of relativity. Unfortunately for me (and humankind), my daydreams aren’t going to lead to any groundbreaking ideas. But maybe I’ll get an idea for a blog post, or perhaps a legal puzzle that has baffled me will come together in the midst of my glazed gaze into the horizon. You never know!