By Mike Redmond
I recently acquired a glider for the front porch and using it has led me to a stunning conclusion: The world would be a lot calmer place if everyone would just get a glider.
The half-hour or so I devote to gliding every night soothes my nerves, lowers my blood pressure and makes me a much happier person, which is saying something. I was pretty happy to begin with.
Like many of you, I live in a neighborhood where sitting on the front porch and visiting with the neighbors is all but a thing of the past. That’s a pity, because on my block we have some excellent sit-and-visit porches, big ones that go all the way across the front of the house and around the sides as well. To have a porch like that and not use it seems something of a sin to me.
So what’s to be gained by sitting on the porch for a half-hour every night? Plenty.
It gives you time to think. Just a couple of evenings ago, while waiting for news of the royal birth, I spent a good 20 minutes mulling over the word “overwhelmed,” as in “I am overwhelmed by the fact that American news people were going all gooey over the birth of a baby in England.” This led me to declare myself underwhelmed by the news in general. Balancing my overwhelmed self against my underwhelmed self, I was finally able to come to the conclusion that the news was leaving me, simply, whelmed.
It allows you to work on things. In my case, that means working on stuff I plan to do when I get to be an official Cranky Old Man. For example, a porch glider is an excellent place to practice yelling, “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!” I plan on doing that a lot in about 20 years, if we ever get any kids in this neighborhood.
It unnerves the people who don’t understand porches. I try to greet everyone who walks past. You’d be surprised how many people are alarmed by this. I enjoy it a great deal.
It slows you down. In a world where things move faster than lightning, with news flashed at you instantly from around the world, where the never-ending pursuit of the dollar seems to get rougher all the time, a porch glider requires you to break away. It asks you to put down the laptop, put the phone back in the pocket, and simply “be.” And it all but begs you to ask the neighbors onto the porch to sit and chat for a while.