May 10, 2023

Taking One’s Own Sweet Time (At Least Now And Zen)

Slowing down runaway trains of thought

By Ed Goldman

I’ve begun to realize how many little tasks I do in the course of a day to keep me on an even emotional keel, to slow down the runaway train of thought that too often becomes uncoupled coal cars hurling down a mountainside. You could also characterize this exercise as how I take or waste my time, if you were either mean-spirited or wholly accurate.

For example, I have a few thousand books and they’re not shelved in any particular order. I also keep my eating utensils in drawers that have trays to separate them—but I ignore those.

Edgy Cartoon

Gurusome freeway sighting

The reason in both cases is that it forces me to search for a particular tome or available fork.

In the former case, that searching provides me with a refresher tour of the books I have, and I usually discover something I’d much rather read than the one I was seeking. Some people call this shiny-objects syndrome but I can promise you that none of the books in my collection remotely resembles bling.

In the latter case, rifling through my silverware drawer helps me calm down the entire dining process, allowing me to digest my food at a more leisurely pace. I never like to be on the brink of visceral starvation by the time I curl my linguini around a successfully located tablespoon.

I use other non-pneumonic prompts to chillax. 

One is rarely relying on GPS when I drive somewhere, thereby forcing me to use my memory of a particular route. Admittedly, this doesn’t work if I’m heading down an unfamiliar interstate on my way to a town I’ve never visited. When I’m doing that I turn the volume on Alexa to screech and never sass her for her insistence (“Turn at the next light/turn at the next light/turn at the next–“)

I also have an aversion to expressing road rage. I didn’t always have this, as a passenger or two (who happen to share my surname) could verify, presuming their therapists will let them talk to you. These days, I know that if I’m stuck in traffic, no amount of boiling blood pressure, hoarse-making bellows or feverish fist-thumping will unlock the grid. So I use the time to sing a few songs by the Beatles, a cappella, and to acknowledge the appreciative gestures of the similarly stalled drivers around me. At least I think they’re being appreciative. They each seem to extend a single finger in unison, as if to say my renditions are Number 1 as far as they’re concerned. (Oddly, none of them uses the index finger, which I thought was customary.)

Another of my possibly Zen-like practices is to never never ever use Google to get me through the daily New York Times and Wall Street Journal crossword puzzles. 

If I’m perplexed by a clue, it’s far better for me to slap the newspaper down on the arm of my chair and storm away from it for a few minutes or even several hours. I’d like to think I spend this impromptu hiatus stewing about the answer but I belong to the school of osmosis (which I’ll confess has limited attendance and pretty lax admission requirements): I tend to think the next time I look at the puzzle the answer will all-but-appear via invisible writing or an ink stain that miraculously forms the missing word. None of that happens, of course. I just sit back down rejuvenated and all at once the answer comes to me.

Had it been hiding in my unconscious all that time? And if so, can it also help me find the grapefruit spoon in my damn silverware drawer?

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, N.A.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


May is national Small Business Month, and it’s a commemoration worth celebrating.

At Golden Pacific Bank, a division of SoFi Bank, NA, we are committed to helping small businesses succeed in our communities since they’re the backbone of our US economy.

In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, there are over 32 million small businesses in the United States, which create roughly 1.5 million jobs per year and provide specialized community and customer services.

Here are just some of the ways that small businesses help our local communities:

  • They create jobs and increase local economic well being
  • They build the community’s character and culture
  • They keep money circulating locally
  • They support innovation and diversification
  • They are more likely to contribute to and sponsor local charities and events
  • They pay local taxes

To celebrate small businesses in our local community, we’re offering special small business loans of up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses headquartered in the following California counties:  Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer and Yolo.  Terms are very competitive.

For more information—including borrower minimum qualifications, program terms and process—contact a branch manager at a Golden Pacific Bank branch most convenient to you:

You may just find yourself largely appreciated!

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