Some Downtime

Plenty of folks don’t realize that not having regular employment and a steady paycheck is rather stressful.  I certainly didn’t know it until it happened to me.  Oh sure, I have the odd job now and again and get some minor income here and there, but it’s not like having a place to work every day with a regular salary that you can mostly count on to be there.

I do have some moolah left in my emergency fund.  I do recommend that you set something aside from each check for a rainy year or two.  I largely enjoy this semi-retired status.  It’s healthier to think of it this way.  After all, many folks younger than me have retired officially.  I’m not in that position for the long-term.  Sooner rather than later, I’ll need to find something steady and not sporadic.

So, back to the stressful part.

Not knowing or uncertainty is one of the most stressful states of being on earth aside from acute torture.  In the past, if something big and important in my life was waiting in the wings, I couldn’t wait for the event to happen.  I wanted to immerse myself in it and get it over.  The state of irregular employment is similar to the state of cold war.  Something big may happen, but when or if it happens is up in the air.  There are millions of folks just like me in the current economic reality.

We’re like big cats, mentally pacing the savanna waiting for our chances.  At the same time, we need to get on with the business of living, paying bills and taking time to enjoy life.  We need downtime as much as anybody else.

Often, we don’t feel worthy of taking the time to settle back and just accept life as it is for awhile.  But I like to keep that attitude in check.  Even though I’m not able to take a whirlwind tour of Europe or Asia as I would like to.  I can take advantage of the sweet pleasures that can be had for little or nothing right here in my small city.

As regular bluejayblog readers know, I like to check out DVDs from the Norfolk Public Library.  Mostly, they’re travelogues and documentaries.  But sometimes, I want to see something that’s simply entertaining.  Not mindless entertainment, but something of substance yet not mind boggling at the same time.

The other night I placed a 1942 classic film in my player. Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” was to get a command performance.  It had been many years since I’d enjoyed this wonderful film, I got the itch again when I saw the DVD on the library shelf last week.

If you’ve never viewed this movie, you have missed out on the quintessential American musical film.  Co-stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire bring their larger than life talents to the public in an extravaganza of music and dance.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Bing Crosby, but have admired his singing and acting since I first saw his appearances when I was just a boy.  In “Holiday Inn”, Crosby is at his best.  There is a depth of acting that enhances his movie role.  His singing performances are flawless.  Noteworthy is the all-time-best selling popular song, “White Christmas”.  Hearing and seeing the song performed in its original context is worth the effort of borrowing the DVD.  Even in the reprise, when Marjorie Reynolds sings much of the tune, the power and deep emotion of the song can be felt.

When it comes to Fred Astaire, I’ve long been a fan of his talents.  He was a peerless genius when it comes to dance.  Nobody even comes close to what he could do with his feet.  He was also a remarkable singer, too.  His duos with Crosby are smooth and humorous at the same time.  Many folks don’t recall that Astaire fronted a swing band back in the day.  His recorded hits made their marks on the “Hit Parade”.  But I wanted sheer enjoyment for my downtime.

That enjoyment came in the form of two of Astaire’s famous performances.  His firecracker dance is still breathtaking.  You’d have to be completely jaded to not deeply appreciate the skill and timing of this incredible performance.

An amazing song and dance routine is seen in the bonus material of the DVD…Astaire’s choreographic masterpiece, “Puttin’ On The Ritz”.  Mr. Astaire dances with nine special effects images of himself.  I never tire of seeing this timeless work of performance art.

Yes, some of the stress of an uncertain lifestyle was greatly relieved by simply letting go.  Not only was the film a good way to spend some time, it was a great way to appreciate some wonderful song and dance.


The Blue Jay of Happiness gives “Holiday Inn” a triple-A rating.


About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, Entertainment. Bookmark the permalink.

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