At work on Monday last week I thought about some writing ideas while stocking items in the warehouse. To make sure I did not forget them, I wrote some brief notes on a piece of cardboard. When the bell sounded for our afternoon break, I told myself that I would not pull out my cell phone. Often I can look in any direction and see people looking at Facebook on their cell phones, and so I try to avoid using mine except when necessary. That time I did not even pull it out of my pocket.
During the break I sat on a stack of shipping pallets held by a stock picker (a kind of forklift) while I wrote my ideas in my red notebook and developed them a little further. It is not the kind of place one envisions as an ideal place to write. I was not sitting in an old fashioned study with a wood fire in a fireplace and a cup of coffee on a lamp table. I was not sitting on the front porch of a mountain cottage with breeze blowing, mist hanging over the mountain tops, and birds chirping in the distance (like I can do when I am on vacation in Fontana Village). No, I was sitting on a stack of pallets in a warehouse with notes written on a spare piece of cardboard and re-organizing them in my notebook. It was not an exciting spot for writing, but sometimes you need to take what you can get. It worked for me, and it was better than wasting my time with my cell phone.
While I was writing, a man in my department approached and asked if I was writing poetry. I told him I was writing personal thoughts. He asked if I had done that all my life. I said “No,” and then I added, “It is better than simply looking at Facebook.” One reason I minimize using my cell phone is to be an example of doing something different and productive.
Sometimes it is discouraging to think I have a Ph.D., but I work in a warehouse. It is not a bad job, but I do want to use my education. In the meantime, however, I can make good use of the spare time that I have and do something productive that exercises my mind and develops my ability as a writer. Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to write about each travel destination on my bucket list. For now, I will work on simply writing and becoming as good as I can.