Seven Treats to Give
Yourself & the World

The year has started with a bang and your head still hurts. So let’s ease ourselves into it, as gently as possible, shall we? Thus our very useful guide of stuff to do – the kind you never find time for – whose rewards you’ll be collecting way beyond December. 
Like, serving meals at a Soup Kitchen. Or taking a bath, in a sensory-deprived tank. You pick the order. In a pickle? The state may owe you cash. Kinda blue? Host a pet this weekend. And more. New York choices are plenty for serving and be served. Just sign on.
For soon enough, there’ll be laundry to do, people to call, and debt collectors to avoid. Holidays are brutal, and their toll usually lasts for months. Here’s your chance to break the mold and get started on something rare, to remember this January like you never done before.
Only a minority is already living in this future we may’ve imagined 2016 would be, this same time last year. Most of us can’t even write the date correctly yet. Gosh, there’s still so much left to do just from a few days ago, let alone 12 months past.
Never mind new resolutions. Nothing ever changes purely on their account, anyway. Start simple, they say, progress wearily, and proceed with caution. We know, our head hurts too. Who can stand strong emotions so soon? Take this guide and calls us in the morning.

It may sound morbid but many are still mourning the death of yet another year, without achieving anything near what David Bowie, who’ll be 69 this Friday, already had at a much younger age. So weep, but take some wine and cheese with you. You’ll be in good company.
Green-Wood, in Brooklyn, and Woodlawn, in the Bronx, are both beautiful, full of history, and peaceful enough for some quiet crying. Plus, they’ve both hold periodic activities, some after midnight, of course, that don’t involve your corpse just yet. Good hauntings.

Come holidays and big dates, someone always has this idea of volunteering at rescue missions around town. Problem is, they’re usually fully booked at those times, by others just like you, except a bit more industrious to enlist their names. It’s all good, though.
Now, most places can’t get enough help. With increased homelessness in this frigid city of ours, it’s a golden chance to fulfill one of those rare urges that doesn’t benefit only you. Whether it’ll make you feel good about yourself is irrelevant. Gotta serve somebody.
Neuroscientist John C. Lilly (who’d have been 100 today) is credited with developing sensory deprivation tanks, where one can float for hours on Epson salts. Later, he added LSD to the experience, (more)
Read Also:
* Curb Your God
* Battleground Masters
* Random Kindness

and that was memorably fictionalized on Ken Russell’s Altered States.
You can still deprive your senses from exterior stimuli, sans the drugs, of course, but you probably won’t miss them: Alfa and Theta waves will flood your brain and you’ll be neither awake nor asleep. But will remember it all, unlike most things in January. Dream on.
Find Money or Die Trying (Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg/Getty)
No one is saying you’ll never win the lotto. But we’ve heard that a friend of a friend did win some cash, by searching a government site. Ok, so that’s almost as hard, but there’s a chance that it’ll bring you more than anything those $3 bucks have been bringing you weekly for years. And it’ll be free.
The idea is almost preposterous: somehow you’ve paid more in taxes that you were supposed to, and they forgot your number to call you and return it. Whatever. What’s important is that it’s for real, and just maybe, you may get lucky, for a change. Just don’t forget our cut.

It may sound a tad ghoulish, to sit in court to see some poor sod getting the rundown for having missed a payment or something. But some may say that to enjoy someone’s downfall is human, just like the millions who tune in daily to Judge Judy do. Not you, of course.
Still, to watch the proceedings of law and order in progress at one of New York courts – some are open late night too- may be your perfect excuse. Get a glimpse of what to expect if you don’t learn what’s good for you and never mind the tourists; they like it too.

We’re talking about downtime, right, and when exactly do you think you’ll have time to learn a new trick? It’s now or never. Take tying up your shoes, for instance. Prepare to forget everything you’ve ever been told about how to do it, and, yes, that includes your Daddy.
Because, let’s face it, if any sea bum can come up with hundreds of knots, why should you stick to the old lace and tight up routine? And don’t let us get started with nooses and garrotes. Just watch the video and you’ll never have to trip over your laces again. Maybe.

Holidays are brutal to animals too, and this month is when many unrequited ones are depressingly returned to pet shops by those who are either physically sick, allergic and the like, or mentally ill, who can’t stand pets. Anyway. It’s always harder on the little ones.
So you can’t commit to having a new friend, and that’s fine. But having one over for the weekend? Come on. They may never leave, and that can’t be bad to your heart. Unlike with humans, treat them right and you’ll be always loved more. And they’re quite kissable too.
There, your New Year has just got started. Cheers.

2 thoughts on “Downtime

  1. Nil says:

    I may opt for the last one, really 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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