Slow News by Forest Gregg
Archive

Casual Time

November 13, 2022

I’ve been thinking about the type of time I have these days: time that is interrupted; interruptible; passing at places not fully under my control; and during which I usually need to give low-grade attention to something else.

What fits into those times, and what can I make to fit?

Activities that fit have these qualities:

I’ve been thinking of these as “casual activities.”

Examples of casual activities:

No phone With phone
Knitting Texting with friends
Looking at plants or telecom equipment Playing casual games like candy crush or duolingo
Thinking about things Social media
Not thinking about things Listening to music
Whittling Reading


I’ve been trying to make some other activities I want to want to do more casual. If activities can fit better into my life, my hope is that I will do more of them.

Datasette, Observable, and GitHub Actions make data analysis much more casual. It’s not pleasant to write SQL on a phone, and even worse to write JavaScript, but it’s possible to do casually now.

This is the second post I’ve initially drafted in the notes app of my phone. Again, it’s not a great way to write, but it make writing casual.

I’ve been debating about whether casual qualities have another necessary property: discreetness. I have everything I need to do a few push-ups, stretch out my hamstrings, or practice harmonica while hanging at the playground, but it seems too embarrassing to draw that attention to myself.

But I’m not sure that’s right. Maybe I need to just get over it.

A lot of the internet depends on taking our casual time, but I haven’t been able to find good writing about it. I’m sure it’s out there and if you know about it, please send it my way.