Dare To Do Nothing by Amy Minty
In her new book, five-time novelist Amy Minty branches out to create her first non-fiction book. Minty provides a solid framework on counteracting any and every urge readers may have to become a workaholic. The author, who advocates doing nothing enhances your life also recounts the leap of faith she took in in her own life that expand on these beliefs.
When you do nothing, you have more time for fun! And shouldn’t that be the point? Would you like to do nothing at work? Covered. Is it important to at least appear busy? Absolutely. Does doing nothing come down to genetics? Read and find out. A life-changing fascinating read for all who dare!
Targeted Age Group:: Adult audiences only
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with my writing to date, I have written five novels. However, as the world changes, it appears I am changing along with it. This past year, while we all suffered, I had time to do a little introspection and remember my philosophy on life. So I decided to write this book about it. The result became Dare To Do Nothing, which is a tongue-in-cheek look at the importance of not trying too hard in life. In fact, doing as little as possible is the ultimate goal.
Achievements are somewhat overrated, especially since they require such tremendous effort. We only go around once, so what we should focus on is living in the present and having a great time. Using personal exam- ples from my past, I write about various topics which demonstrate how to do less. If we are fixated on plea- sure as opposed to self-imposed obligations, we regain control of our lives and can do what is really important − eat, sleep, drink, smoke, and have sex.
This is not a novel. This is reality.
The Concept Of Doing Nothing In Daily Life
Is there anything finer than having nothing to do? No, not really. I will expand on this subject in order to give you a cozy feeling about me. I consider myself to be an expert on the subject of “doing nothing,” so you’re in good hands. I developed such expertise from many years of fine-tuning my skills. Allow me to elaborate. “Doing nothing” can’t be taken literally, of course. There are better things to do than sit in one spot all day. We have to do something to keep ourselves occupied, or more specifical- ly, entertained. The point is, there are simple ways to achieve this state of nirvana without having to exert much effort. Spare time should be well spent. I’m referring to the pre- cious moments that aren’t wrapped up in bullshit, obligatory duties. During this time, only do what you desire. But start small. For instance, if you feel like painting, start by experi- menting on a small piece of paper. Don’t buy twelve gallons of paint and a sixteen-foot canvas and expect to paint like Picasso. In life, a normal day consists of roughly fourteen to six-
teen waking hours. Half of this time is generally spent work- ing or doing stuff we would prefer not to be doing. That’s when “doing nothing” really becomes imperative, because, if we hate what we’re doing − wouldn’t we rather be doing noth- ing? When faced with the choice, staring at the wall seems pretty good compared to entering data into a computer for some manager on a power trip who thinks he or she owns us.
As you read through this book, you will understand that “doing nothing” is a talent that everyone can develop with a little practice. I will focus on how to enjoy life while exerting minimal effort. Think of it as a stress-free guide to having fun while still doing less. It does require reading, however, but reading is rather relaxing – especially if you’re supposed to be working. Writing a book might seem contradictory to the subject matter of “doing nothing,” but writing is just a quiet, introverted activity. Trust me, I know.
I’m sure there has been other documentation written about the subject of “nothing,” but I’ve never been interested enough to actually find out, much less read it. I’m aware that the existing literature on my favorite topic concentrates pri- marily on philosophical concepts. (I despise reading books in search of answers to questions that nobody knows. Life is confusing enough.) This particular book will be a more prac- tical, hands-on approach.
I’ll begin by describing myself. I’ll try to be objective. I’m one of those people who should probably be on medication, but no one’s ever been able to pin me down long enough to diagnose me. Let’s just say I’m a free spirit. I’m easily bored, highly erratic, and unpredictable, yet relatively lazy at the core. My bookshelves are stocked with “get rich quick” books, and the like. I always feel there might be one out there that I
Dare To Do Nothing
haven’t read, and that bothers me. As far as my appearance is concerned, I’m short. I think
that’s because I never ate anything with calcium growing up as a kid. My mother specialized in cooking potatoes. Baked, broiled, fried, grilled, even thrown directly into an actual fire. As long as they were cooked/burned, no matter how they were prepared, they were considered energy-burning fuel for my sister and me. The only calcium I ever ingested was the occasional melted cheese on “charred” potato skins, and that’s if I were seriously lucky! Maybe I ate some other foods with calcium, but I sincerely doubt it. Moving on.
My skin is that pale type that needs to be tricked into tanning. Now I live in South Florida, and the sun teases me year-round. Taunting me with ideas of glistening, golden skin as I apply my 50 sunblock.
I think of myself as athletic, but it takes some convincing for others to agree. (You will soon learn about my rigorous gym regiments dating back some twenty years.)
No one can decide on the color of my eyes, which results in many dull conversations. I’m average looking for the most part, which is super because it gives me a very slippery qual- ity: here one minute, gone the next. Yes!
As far as my background is concerned, I went to high school, (half the time − I made sure I attended just enough days to advance grades) then college (five-year plan). One could even say I achieved a few goals before I became a writ- er, but the bottom line is for the last twenty-five years, I’ve focused on doing nothing. And you know what? I’ve had a great time! Additional experiences will be revealed in bits and pieces throughout the remainder of this book, so pre- pare yourself.
I consider myself to be pretty smart. Not book smart. Those people are annoying. I classify myself more along the lines of streetwise. If I traveled more outside of the U.S., I would even deem myself worldly. Put it this way: I can’t an- swer most of the questions on Jeopardy, but I can analyze the contestants to the point where friends and family start sneaking out of the room so they don’t have to listen to me. On the other hand, I’m great at Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right. Doing a lot of nothing turns you into a damn good guesser and a fantastic shopper.
The best part about doing nothing is what you notice about other people when you’re not so focused on your own ambitions, or lack thereof. In short, you have time to make fun of everyone. People are strange. It’s entertaining to dis- sect them from a distance.
Just so everyone understands what I’m truly all about, I’m going to take you through a two-hour segment of my life doing nothing. I would make it a day example, but you might get bored. No one wants that.
Due to the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus in 2020, I’m choosing a two-hour example from my younger years. This will help to maintain a positive outlook and will not be depressing. I take you back to early 2001, prior to 9/11.
Working nights, I would usually rise around noon. This provided me time to relax before my day kicked into full gear. This particular day, my slightly irritating but useful friend, Brian, came over to fix my VCR. Other than buzzing him in and out of my apartment, I did absolutely zero during the twenty minutes he was at my apartment. Well, that’s not en- tirely true; I did compliment his Hugo Boss belt and glanced
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at him occasionally fiddling with the mechanism. In truth, I gaped at him while he gripped the remote control deter- minedly in the hopes of reprogramming my channels.
People who know what they’re doing tend to look intense and resolute. I never look like that. Naturally, that is. I usually appear blissfully happy because I’m not listening to anyone. Nor do I ever know if I’m doing something correctly. Igno- rance is bliss, by the way. Brian’s face was all scrunched up in exasperation as he pressed multiple buttons angrily. He could have passed as someone who worked at the DMV or the FBI. He also never spoke so it wasn’t a super-informative lesson, but as long as he fixed my VCR, I didn’t give a shit. The beau- ty was, I didn’t have to do a thing. Come to think of it, I didn’t even offer him a drink or coffee, which − almost twenty years later – I now realize was rather rude of me.
Next in my heavy lineup for the day, I sauntered over to the gym. Back then, I liked to walk down Christopher Street in Manhattan. The retail shops on that road totally fit into my mindset because none of them sold anything of real value. The stores specialized in paraphernalia which is only handy in the bedroom, depending on your lifestyle.
The gym for me is the epitome of doing nothing. My en- trance normally went unnoticed by the “professional” crew at the desk. They buzzed me in automatically because they understood that my daily arrival was part of their boring day. Sometimes I got a nonchalant “hey” when reaching past them for a towel, but generally, I would slink in and out with- out so much as a nod.
I eventually found myself staring at the same uniform blue locker. I always went directly to locker number for- ty-three, which had a broken handle. I’m not sure why I al-
ways chose that particular compartment to store my bag, but it was probably because, being broken, it had a ninety-eight percent chance of being unoccupied. Whatever the case, I re- peatedly found myself standing in front of its bent exterior. I glanced around like I always did, marking my territory and staring at my reflection in the multitude of mirrors. A whole lot of nothing happens in front of all those mirrors. What a waste. It’s never like what you see in the movies.
After getting changed into my hip workout gear, which I can’t specifically recall but assume included zebra-striped biking pants, I managed to drag myself up the five flights of stairs to the top floor where they kept the stationary bikes. I’m afraid of elevators, but I use this phobia to my advan- tage. Climbing the stairs, no matter how slowly, incidentally builds stamina and strong leg muscles.
Being so organized and all, I carried with me the latest paperback bestseller by some guy I’d never heard of, which I knew I’d never wind up reading (it was just for show), and 24 Hour Fitness’ small white towel, which was even more un- necessary than the book. Plopping down on one of the bikes, I began my routine of slow peddling, mixed with an occa- sional straightening of my posture, while I glanced around the room. “Yep, looks the same as it did yesterday,” I thought to myself. More nothing set in.
Then suddenly, I blinked twice − the bike’s digital clock indicated I’d been peddling for seven minutes. I might have been so bored that I blacked out, but I figured since I was still on the bike and not sweating in the least, I was OK. I shifted my attention to a tan, good-looking trainer, whom I conclud- ed was “training” an older gentleman. It looked to me as if the trainer was holding him up, but I could have been wrong. I’m not always right. Only ninety-eight percent of the time,
Dare To Do Nothing
but whatever. Truthfully speaking, I respect trainers. If I were to ever
actually do anything, I think I would become a trainer be- cause they’re just like me, except for being in better shape and twenty times more active. It had to be better than my job at the time, but I’ll get into that in a bit.
A few minutes passed, and I heard the trainer say to his gray-haired client, “Hey, you feel dizzy, just take it easy, man. Sit quietly for a second.” Shit, I’d be great at this job! I know how to encourage resting! I nicknamed the trainer Rick. I fig- ured my odds were pretty good. I labeled his client, Silver, for obvious reasons.
“When’s your next appointment, damn it!” Silver roared, but it wasn’t a question, obviously. More of a command. And his hair was mostly white, not silver, but I do recall giving him the benefit of the doubt.
“Eight thirty,” Rick said. It was roughly 5 p.m. Give or take. I only happened to know the time because Brian had been over, and I glanced at my watch way too many times. Rick was living the dream. Three and a half hours of doing nothing and getting paid? I made a mental note to look into this personal training career. It seemed super promising.
“Do you want to catch a bite to eat?” Silver yelled over the shitty gym music and roaring air conditioning. From my po- sition on the bike, you could tell he was starving for food that tasted good and absolutely hated the current diet his wife had put him on − in order to save his life, of course. You can al- ways tell these things when you’re sitting on a stationary bike barely moving your legs.
“Sure,” Rick said with enthusiasm. The two proceeded to limp out of the room together. My immediate thought was
this: Rick automatically adopted his client’s mannerisms. It was like watching General Hospital from the director’s chair on set. It was surprisingly refreshing/suspicious to see two opposites get along so well. I was so darn entertained that I forgot to keep cycling. My bike reminded me of this by blink- ing obnoxiously, a not-so-subtle cue to keep pedaling.
I looked down at the back cover of my book for the thir- teenth time. “Shocking!” “A Superb Read!” “Hooks You Right In!” Damn, I thought. I still had no idea what the book was about, but I’d somehow memorized the accolades from the press.
I persevered. I was almost about to break the twelve-min- ute mark. I always knew when that was about to happen. For some reason it’s a small hurdle of achievement for me. I think it’s because I used to be able to run a twelve-minute mile back in my youth. I’ve since realized it’s more satisfying to see I can bike double the mileage in that time – without even trying.
I contemplated glancing over the back cover of the novel I was still hopelessly holding when I was saved by yet another bizarre distraction. An older lady, maybe in her early seven- ties, was hobbling up the stairs. (Afraid of elevators too, and no doubt looking for Silver, who was off eating pizza with Rick.) But she was elegant and classy. I instantly named her Lady Di, peddling slightly faster, nervous and excited at each tap of her cane. I have a vivid imagination, and I was thrilled to be among royalty.
Naturally, feeling my positive momentum (if only tem- porary) and amazing vibes, Lady Di chose the bike next to mine, ignoring the six others farther away. She perched her cane thoughtfully over the edge of MY bike, still drawn to my empowering energy. I continued to watch her, but was
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afraid to say anything. She looked serious, as most royals do. This was clearly not her first rodeo. My admiration for this woman, who was probably unaware her husband was palling around with Rick and ignoring his strict diet, began peddling to set the clock on her bike, but get this: she only used her right leg. Lady Di kept her left leg balanced on the bar in the middle of the bike while she set her personalized program like a pro.
I was impressed. It was obviously some physical therapy routine, but the fact that she didn’t bother to use her “good” leg was fabulous. Her regal elegance regarding basic manner- isms and tricky maneuvers were noteworthy. Lady Di stared at the television that loomed above us with utter disinter- est, peddling slowly with just one leg. After five minutes, I’d dubbed her my personal hero. She made my nothing look like something! She soon got sick of that particular bike. It happens.
Perhaps she thought it was broken.
Lady Di then went from bike to bike, trying them all, each time placing her cane down on the bike to the left of her. I eventually forced myself to stop staring and glared at myself in the mirror. Twenty-six minutes, 4.2 miles, and 105 calories burned. I had wasted twenty-six minutes burning off
the calories of half a Devil Dog. I walked over to the disturbing, deep blue mats in the
corner, forgetting my untouched towel with a shrug, shaking my legs out like a professional athlete. My legs always felt exactly the same after my bike ride, which was a great re- lief. An injury would simply add one more issue to my hectic schedule.
I extended my legs out in front of me to the best of my
ability, making a big show of it, acting like I knew the defi- nition of agility to anyone that might be watching, and/or cared. Lady Di made her way over to me without invitation. I have a powerful presence, and our mutual respect was ob- vious. We both seemed to understand the point of doing the least we could at a gym.
Proving my point further, Lady Di laid down on the thick blue mat, perhaps with the idea of a future sit-up in mind. I didn’t stay long enough to see if it ever happened. I headed back down the same five flights of stairs to the super boring locker room to shower.
Showering took two minutes, as I’d recently decided to have the majority of my hair chopped off. It was kind of a rash decision, but it totally paid off. My haircut was a great addition to my low-maintenance lifestyle. Here's why:
It required infrequent washing.
There wasn’t enough of it to tangle.
It was cost efficient.
Hairbrushes were unnecessary.
It tended to stay in one place.
People avoided me, thinking I might have fled a men- tal institution.
I no longer had to search my apartment for a hair band.
It was unaffected by rough sex.
It was much harder for me to get gum stuck in it.
It never blocked my vision on a windy day
People were suddenly forced to look me in the eye.
I couldn’t be told to put my hair up in order to please some corporate prick manager.
Dare To Do Nothing
Back to the locker room. I told you about the hair for a reason. It explains why my two-inch locks are a snap to fix af- ter a good workout! After wetting my hair under the shower, I waltzed back to locker number forty-three. I glanced around my domain. This was my territory, and I was proud of it.
I dressed leisurely while munching on some caramel corn that I had tucked away in my purse. I also sipped from a lukewarm Yoo-hoo, a well-known super-hydrator used by world-class athletes, which was also in my purse. I then put on some highly regarded Cover Girl makeup purchased from Duane Reade, sprucing up for my big night at work. (Work- ing is just fucking stupid, but we’ll get into that shortly.)
Right, so there is a two-hour time slot in the ever-so-ex- citing life of Amy Minty. I will bring you deeper into the im- portance of doing nothing as we move forward together
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