If you were in the Cielo Vista neighborhood between 7 and 8 p.m. last Sunday, you might have seen a 30-something dad wearing a skate helmet and wrist guards riding on rollerblades with a miniature dachshund, reliving the ‘90s while attracting stares.

That may or may not have been me.

In my defense, it’s the most efficient way to exercise a lowrider with 4-inch legs. And you can’t argue with the dog whisperer.

My most productive times are often the downtimes – those in-between times, commuting to work, taking a shower, steeping tea, standing in line at the store, watering the garden, eating lunch or rollerblading. And, occasionally, I run into somebody I know at the park.

With so much entertainment a tap away, life hacks that promise to simplify life and technology aimed at optimizing humanity, I find preserving those moments increasingly hard. It’s too easy to whip out my phone in the checkout line. And I have the bad habit of reducing things to their utility. Does something have to be efficient and productive to be good?

But when I give my mind time to wander, I never regret it. That’s usually when my columns and stories begin to write themselves in my head and I get my best ideas. Few things are less inspiring than staring at a blinking cursor on a computer monitor.

I’m reading “Aristotle’s Way” by Edith Hall. I haven’t finished the book yet so don’t know if I can recommend it, but she makes an interesting point about ancient philosophers. They didn’t just sit in empty rooms and think about the meaning of life.

“Like his teacher Plato, and Plato’s teacher Socrates before him, Aristotle liked to walk as he reflected; so have many important philosophers since, including Nietzsche, who insisted that ‘only ideas gained through walking have any worth at all,” Hall writes.

I’m sure Nietzsche would have included rollerblading if he was a child of the ‘90s.

Hall continues, “They preferred to perambulate in company, harnessing the forward drive their energetic strides generated to the cause of intellectual progress, synchronizing their dialog to the rhythm of their paces.

“To judge from the magnitude of his contribution to human thinking, and the number of seminal books he produced, Aristotle must have tramped thousands of miles with his students across craggy Greek landscapes during his 62 years on the planet.”

So here’s to embracing all of those in-between moments and shame-free perambulating – even, sometimes, rollerblading with a miniature dachshund.

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