Do you remember how to dawdle? What does this verb mean to you?
To dawdle means to waste time; to idle.
It also signifies moving slowly or languidly.
Dawdling used to have a negative connection for me and I admit that I have uttered these words often over the years: “Hurry up Nephew #1. Stop dawdling or we’ll be late!” He was, at one time, a champion dawdler. Of course, now he’s a approaching adulthood and studying for A Levels, he has a social life and can’t afford to dawdle. Just like us.
What about if we reframe the notion of dawdling? Let’s say, to dawdle is to loiter at a quirky shop window or saunter towards the centre of the park where you are due to meet your friend. En route, you notice the blooming tea roses or pause to read the memorial plaque on a bench. You feel the sun on your décolleté and reflect on how it makes you feel. You admire a handsome/beautiful person and maybe even smile at them. You crouch down to pat a chocolate labrador. Or you pick up the newspaper someone has dropped and notice a headline that sparks an idea.
When you dawdle you increase the chance of making a connection. Human connection is a necessity and a lifesaver, especially in an urban context where anonymity can equate to freedom but it can also signify loneliness.
Go for a dawdle in your city, get lost and discover a hidden treasure. This is one of my favourite indulgences because time is a luxury and it is important that I not be in a hurry to reach my destination. I went for a wander after my first post-op physio appointment last week. I got told off by my physiotherapist. Apparently being able to tie my own shoelaces doesn’t count. The point is: I should not be doing it yet. Going for a lengthy dawdle, that is. I didn’t care. Being pain-free and able to explore after so many months being stuck at home went to my head. So I got a bit lost. I went from Hatton Garden to Farringdon, round Clerkenwell and back to Chancery Lane. Dawdling revealed:
- a place I have never gotten around to visiting but always wanted to check out
- a quirky London doorway to photograph (see my image above)
- this fantastic adventure playground to visit with my nieces and younger nephew
- a hidden garden in the heart of Clerkenwell – an oasis of tranquility
- original and handcrafted wares on sale here
- a beautiful family history and wonderful handmade handbags and many other goodies.
Even the sound of the word dawdle it is alluring. Roll it around your tongue; imagine strolling through an unfamiliar neighbourhood in your city. What will you uncover?
I love words such as dawdling as much as I love the act of it. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Nik Perring’s new book: Beautiful Words. The cover is inspiring and Cally Taylor is running a competition to win a free copy of the book. Just leave a comment by Friday 6 June 2014 and state what your favourite word is and why.
Mine is dawdle! What’s yours?
And before I go, tell me, do you think it is even possible to dawdle in an urban environment?