Have You Lollygagged Today?

by Ann Allen

It's three a.m. I am awakened by thunder and lightening. I lay waiting for the first of my children to scream in fear. Out of nowhere one word comes into my brain.

I decide it is a great word. It rolls off my tongue like something that makes second graders snicker. I think that this word has been given a bad rap. I decide to investigate what others think of when they hear this word. I ask my friend Meg. Meg is no stranger to the three a.m. funky thought thing. She doesn't seem to find this stream of consciousness disturbing in the least. She tells me that to her lollygagging is, indeed, negative. Lazy, without purpose and, gulp, with your tongue hanging out! Whew - negative vibes there! I decide to pose the question to several women at my kids' school. I am faced with looks that suggest I might be off my medication. I decide to cool it.

Lollygagging is taking time to smell the roses. Sitting back and relaxing even though the clothes need to be folded and the dust bunnies are beginning to learn Spanish. In a perfect world lollygagging would be a legitimate excuse to get you out of things. Say you get a call from your dentist saying that it is time for your annual root canal. You simply say "Please hold while I check my calendar." Count to five and cheerfully say "Oh sorry I'm scheduled to lollygag that day." You are off the hook completely. Enough said.

I am on a one woman crusade for lollygagging amnesty. I believe that we need to lollygag in order to become functional human beings who don't write bad checks. If you don't lollygag freely you just can't be trusted. Sorry.

I envision posters, bumper stickers and t shirts that say "Have you lollygagged today?" Perhaps a poster child for lollygagging? Soon instead of judging our politicians on domestic and foreign platforms we'll vote for them based on how often they lollygag. Hell, we may even organize our own political party!

As with any new trend there can be zealots. Those that are obsessed with lollygagging. Be warned. You can lollygag to the point where you become an unemployed nine hundred pound agoraphobic. The talk shows will love you, but, face it, no one else really wants to deal with you. This is an extreme case. If you lollygag in moderation you'll be just fine. No lollygaggers anonymous for you.

All I am asking is that you explore the art of lollygagging. Don't hurt yourself. Start small. Take one half hour and do something frivolous and childlike. Make a mural on your sidewalk, go bowling and ask them to put bumpers in your gutters, put hot pink shoelaces in your shoes, wear mismatched socks, laugh till you cry. Or just sit on your butt - you decide. You are only limited by your imagination (and your nerve!).

If you are a "type A run around like a headless chicken" personality you may need to exercise extreme care. We know this is a foreign concept. For you, lollygagging is crucial. Your immune system is crying out for it - now! It may be impossible for you to dive in unassisted. That is where "lollygagging buddies" come in. They have developed lollygagging to an art form. They will be nearby to talk you down if things get rough. You'll be fine. Just take some deep breaths.

Lollygagging can turn this world around. Transform the angry to serene, the frenzied to placid and the stubborn to mushy. Give it a try and then ask everyone you meet "Have you lollygagged today?".

Ann Allen aspires to live a simple, creative lifestyle amidst the chaos of life with three children. Her work has appeared in Acorn Mush and The Mother is Me. Ann wears various hats on the web. She is the Cosmic Woman, the list owner of the Feminist Mothers at Home mailing list and the creator/editor of this playground.

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© Copyright 1997 - Ann Allen. All rights reserved.