A matter of time



In 1989, Marlon Brando gave a groundbrea­king interview on US television. In it, journalist Connie Chung asked a by-then mostly reclusive Brando what he’d been doing for the past nine years, since stepping away from acting. “I’ve spent hours and hours watching ants go up and down my sink. Picking up the crumbs and finding out where they come from. They come in the cold weather,” he said.

“Wow,” I thought to myself. “This guy gets it.”

From the moment we’re born, we’re all assigned the monumental task of filling in a bunch of hours, minutes and seconds until we’re eventually met with some relief – hopefully in a memorable way. (See: Elvis.) But whiling away the hours isn’t always that easy. Sure, you’ve got a job; maybe you’re in a relationsh­ip. Some will even go as far as having children or pursuing a hobby. That’s all great stuff, but sadly it’s not enough, so I’ve compiled a list that will help you fill those dull, uninspired moments, also known as life. Turns out it was a great way for me to kill a bit of time. SCREAMING You don’t have to start too big with this – there are plenty of small-yet-satisfying activities available. Why not scream? It’s the number one way to let passersby know you’re not thrilled about something. It’s also a great way to trap a neighbour into checking on you, and hey presto, you have someone to chat with, and you’re filling in someone else’s time, too! Generous much?

PHONE CHIT-CHAT Many people make the mistake of declining a telemarket­ing call, but as I always say, “A telemarket­er is just a friend you don’t know yet who also gets a commission for selling you things.” Pick that phone up and get to know your caller – this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship that they’ll almost certainly play down to their supervisor. Questions like “could you repeat that product descriptio­n one more time?” and “run me through the fine print again” will guarantee a rewarding and meaningful exchange. It also helps to ask their star sign!

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH Ever tried to measure the speed of ants? Me neither! But there’s 15 minutes you can strike off your day, and technicall­y you can also say you collaborat­ed with Marlon Brando on something if it’s ant-related. You’ve gotta work smart, not hard.

WRITING LETTERS The lost art of letter-writing is a simple and beautiful way to put your ideas and thoughts down for someone you care about. In this case, it’s me! Writing letters to yourself is kind of like talking to yourself, but more sophistica­ted, and with less chance of concerning your loved ones. You can fill hours jotting down wonderful anecdotes you stole from Katharine Hepburn while you were watching reruns of The Dick Cavett Show on Youtube. Once the page has been fully inked, pop it in the post and sit by idly until your wonderful letter comes back to you. That’s two to three days’ worth of waiting!

BUS RIDES We’ve all seen that one guy riding right up the front of the bus, sitting in the weird single seat or even standing next to the overwhelmi­ngly disinteres­ted driver as he talks directly at their expression­less face without drawing breath, and thought, “I wish that was me!” Well, good news: it can be! If you’ve got a few hours spare of an afternoon, why not spout a soliloquy at your friendly bus driver while also blocking the entrance and exit of the vehicle? You’ll walk away wondering where the afternoon went, and how to get home now the bus is in a depot miles from where you started. Sounds like another exciting, time-filling journey awaits!

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