Friday, May 15, 2009

Killing an Hour is Harder Then It Sounds

I've been at my internship for about two weeks now, and there are a lot of things I am learning that are different in office life from anything else I have experienced. While I could fill several blogs worth on all the things I have observed, I will just focus on one today.

It was my very first day. Yes, that day where the elevator didn't work and hardly anyone was at work. I was reading all the training information and getting started on my very first listing, when the listings editor, Sally came to me and said;

"You can take an hour for lunch everyday. Try and go between 12 and 2. You don't need to let anyone know when you leave, you can just go."

It was 12:30 then, so I went for lunch right then. Seeing as it was my first day, I called home to say hi to my mom. I sat on a bench out on the street and ate while I talked (sorry Mom). I hung up the phone, and looked at the time, thinking to myself what a nice relaxing lunch hour that had been.

It was 12:50. I'd barely used 20 minutes. You mean I had another 40 minutes before I had to go back to work? Awesome.

Now the question was, what was I going to do with it those 40 minutes? In my entire life, out of all the jobs I'd ever had, I have never had longer then a half hour for lunch. Unless you count when I was a nanny, and when you have spend lunch time coming up with new ways to get two boys to eat their vegetables, it doesn't count. Last summer I sometimes didn't even get a half hour. I'd stand in the doorway of the staff room, eating my lunch and running back to my desk every time the phone rang (sorry to those people on on the line when I had curry).

Now, I had an hour all to myself everyday. I didn't have to wait for a convenient time between patients, I didn't have to keep kids from throwing their food, I didn't have to sit in a cramped little room filled with boxes of sweaters, I was free, in Kensington. I think I should leave my wallet at home.

I had no idea what to do with myself that first day. I think I went back 20 minutes early or something. The following Monday, I was as ill prepared as before. But I discovered something I had not noticed before. Or at least, not made the connection.

My office is a block away from the Bow River. Last Monday, I wandered over there and looked for a place to sit. It was harder then you'd think. The part of the Bow that goes by my house is very scenic and wildernessy, this was the Bow River going through downtown. It's not the same kind of atmosphere. For starters, homeless people live there. I was about to sit down on one bench when I noticed a pile of belongings beneath it. Is it rude to sit on a bench when you can obviously tell that bench is someone's home? I didn't bother to find out.

I was just beginning to think the river wasn't such a good idea after all when I noticed a little plaza just above the bike path. There was picnic tables and benches without personal belongings stashed beneath them. Perfect.

I ate my lunch and then stared at the river until my hour was up. Hey, at least it was better then watching the traffic on Kensington Road.

It wasn't until Tuesday that it occurred to me to bring a book. Considering what a book worm I am, that surprised me, but it's true. Now everyday at 12:30, I head down to the river and either read or walk along the pathway. It's a nice break in my day.

The only difficulty is that this is Calgary, and the weather doesn't always co-operate. Some days it rains, some days it snows. After sitting in a windowless cubicle for four hours, I need to get outside. So I go out, rain or shine, and walk. Yesterday I came in dripping wet, much to the amusement of our circulation manager, Emilia.

But I don't know what else to do with my lunch hours. I love going to the river, but I'm worried I will get bored within the next four months, or some days the weather will just be too miserable to go out. Any suggestions with how to kill an hour in Kensington?


Kayjer said...

The river is lovely, but I'm definitely a people-watcher! Personally, I would walk down Kensington road up to where Crave is and check out the shops. iAppeal, Higher Ground, etc. Window shop and just take a look at what everyone else is doing with their day!

Zoey said...

Try Riley Park when the weather is nice. Later in the summer they will have the water park up and running and it might be hectic and full of kids, but there's also lush grass, cool water and shade.

Katey said...

Leve the wallet and explore Kensington. Obviously you can read (either indoors or out)... and can you gues what my next suggestion will be? Try knitting. I always pack a small project in my purse for when I'm out and about, it helps to pass time in a very pleasant manner.