Last week we had a very unexpected typhoon day in Hong Kong. Usually people would be aware and words would be spreading a day ahead if there’s a chance it could be a No.8. But this time, we didn’t hear anything until the morning of that day. Maybe the observatory did give a notice, but everyone in the city was too preoccupied with all the protest-related news these days, in their own biased way.
Anyways, I had an unexpected half day off in the afternoon of Wednesday. And I love unexpected day off. (who doesn’t?) It feels like stealing some extra unofficial time in life and if it has any practical significance, it means I am entitled more than any other day to “waste” this day, it means I can indulge all my guilty pleasures, binge-watching tv series, having McDonald’s, listening to music and dancing uglily, and mostly, simply doing nothing.
I love doing nothing. But it makes me feel guilty. I’m not exactly sure why is that. Maybe coz we live in a time and society that fanatically celebrates “doing stuff” and silently shames the opposite. Maybe coz there is a fundamental anxiety rooted in my blood by my parents, my father particularly, who wouldn’t miss any chance lecturing me, urging me to always think how I could be better in something, as if me feeling at ease gives him a feeling of unease. Maybe one of my ex-boyfriend also contributed to the growing of this guilt when he asked me what I like to do and I said I just like to chill and he seemed to find this answer utterly unacceptable.
To be honest, I’m pretty good at doing nothing. If you have a chance to chill with me you’d know it’s true. I have this talent of making doing nothing a very fun thing to do. At least to me, it’s (almost) never boring. By doing nothing, I can casually grab any one of the New Yorkers scattered in every corner of my apartment and read a random story that I didn’t know I’d be interested in. By doing nothing, I can play music at a ridiculous volume and discover my hidden dancing talent in front of the bathroom mirror. By doing nothing, I can lie flat on my bed staring at the ceiling, sink into memories and cry if it happens to take me there and take film photos of myself crying. And thanks to social media, I can even share all these online and see who has viewed me doing absolutely nothing.
Jokes aside, I do admire those who seem to always have the energy of doing stuff. I have also fantasised that my life would probably be substantially different if I have that kind of energy. But unfortunately, I’m not one of them and I have to accept that. For me, doing nothing, or not feeling compelled to do something, is an ultimate pleasure and probably the only way I can truly relax and charge my battery up. Everything other than doing nothing, is more or less a consuming process.
I guess everyone has their own portfolio of guilty pleasure. Some people like watching corny Rom-Coms. Some people like eating chicken nuggets (and we all know who). Some people play Candy Crush. Some people chase celebrities. And some people (assuming I’m not the only one) simply like doing nothing. The bottom line is, we all need some sort of guilty pleasure to keep it going.
Who knows. Maybe one day, doctors will prescribe “doing nothing for 3 days” for a patient suffering from overstrain. Maybe one day, when someone ask me what’s my weekend plan and I say “my weekend plan is to do nothing, nothing at all” and that someone will go “oh wow, that sounds terrific”.
Until that day, I will keep this pleasure and live with my guilt.
P.S. Talking about that ex-boyfriend, one major reason I liked him a lot was that he always has the energy of doing a lot, is always full of ideas and up for adventures. With him I’ve done the craziest things, I’ve adventured every weekend, I’ve partied like I never will again. Those are still very vivid and treasurable memories. He came over to my place one night and the next morning there was a typhoon No.8, so we were literally trapped in the apartment for the whole day. There weren’t much to do, we chilled and talked, he worked a bit on his laptop as I read myself to sleep. We ate. We talked more. We took a walk when it wasn’t raining anymore. We had a heavy dinner in a corny restaurant in the mall. It was probably the most uneventful day in our volatile relationship and I’m sure he has forgotten about it. I don’t remember many details either but I remember feeling very happy that day. Thinking back, oddly, it was probably the most satisfying day in our relationship for me, a random typhoon day on which the two of us did nothing together.