Time to think

I’ve been off nine days on a COVID-based rotation my work has implemented. It’s a funny feeling suddenly having this much time on my hands.

I’ve gotten some stuff done but likely not near as much as I should have. I did some painting, worked in the yard and cleaned out several cabinets, but mostly I’ve found myself occupied by mental chatter.

I have always enjoyed thinking. If you think enough, you get to something you haven’t thought of before. Those moments of realization are fascinating to me and as exciting as anything that happens outside of my mind.

In eighth grade study hall I read an article about thinking. It said research showed if people were in places they’d never been before, they would have thoughts they’d never had.

I liked the idea of that and decided to try it.

I had an afternoon routine. As soon as I got home, I’d put on pajama pants and find something to eat. Around this time, my brother and I discovered to our amazement that bacon could be microwaved.  We went through several packs before Dad told us bacon was not an appropriate after-school snack. But on this day, I cooked a full plate and thought about where I’d think.

I wound up deciding I had never spent any time on the landing at the top of the stairs. So I got a chair from the dining room and took a seat there. I set about thinking and waited on the new thoughts to come.

I was still sitting there when my dad got home from work.

Picture the scene, if you will: a father walking in on his 6-foot-1, 320-pound, shirtless 14-year-old holding a plate of bacon at the top of the stairs, staring down.

“What are you doing?” he asked. I said, “I’m trying to think of things I never thought of.” There was a pause, and then he said, “Are you high?” I said, “Huh?” He said, “Are you high? Let me smell your breath.”

“OK,” I said, “but it’s going to smell like bacon.”

Dad was right to be concerned, of course. Looking back, I can see that if I came home to my son D doing the same thing, I might come to the same conclusion.

I passed Dad’s breathalyzer drug test, and he determined his kid was not a dope head – just a weirdo with too much time on his hands.

History repeats itself, so here I am, back in the present, in a new place, with too much time on my hands.

I started a keto diet while at home. I ate a lot of bacon. I wore pajama pants.  And I sat shirtless on the couch thinking thoughts I never thought before.

Will Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.