I had to reschedule a meeting with a colleague, and so sent him an email suggesting some times on a Thursday afternoon. I know my colleague is pretty busy at work, so I didn’t know whether my suggested times would work for him. But I hoped that with a little luck, our schedules might mesh.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the answer I got back:

I should be soapmaking in the afternoon.

I was utterly charmed by this response. Here we are, all of us, running around like crazy, going to committee meetings, supervising student research, writing grant proposals. Finally somebody bucks the tide and just takes an afternoon off, in the middle of the week, to do something wonderfully old fashioned and artisanal.

I was trying to imagine the exact scenario. Is this a project he and his wife or kids are doing together? Is it a form of meditation? Perhaps there is a backstory involving a transformative trip to some exotic country, and a desire to embrace its cultural associations in his everyday life.

I had about a million thoughts like this. But mostly I felt admiration for the guts of this guy, to simply step out of the system, buck our collective workaholic tradition, and do something truly refreshing.

So I suggested other times for our meeting, and got back the following reply:

Soapmaking!!!!! my smart phone is gone crazy!! I thought I wrote that I was free Thursday afternoon after 2pm.

2 thoughts on “Soapmaking”

  1. The right typo can make your day. (Yesterday’s favorite: a memo where one executive praised another as “a voice of clam in a storm”).

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