This post is a tribute to Randall Sadleir, the grandfather of one of my greatest friends. ‘Randy’ was a master of acronym – a trait that was passed onto his son, who endearingly called Randy BOB, short for ‘Blind Old Bastard’. Or, when he had his cataracts removed, Ex-BOB.
Randy lived in a basement flat, affectionately known as ‘the cave’ and was, if his memorial service was anything to go by, a greatly loved man.
Fortunately Randy’s legacy lives on. One of my favourite Randyisms is the phenomenon of the VLD, or better still the VVLD.
Despite having huge amounts of energy, Randy wasn’t indefatigable. Sometimes, when his body or soul required it, he would announce it time to have a VLD – A ‘Very Lazy Day’. A VVLD, as you’ve probably guessed, is a Very Very Lazy Day.
As I’ve mentioned before, I find it important to spend some time doing very little. After a busy week or two, a day comes along where all I want is to curl up on the sofa, or in bed, to watch films or read.
I find that if a ‘day of rest’ forces itself upon me when I feel I should be doing something else, it can make the day unsatisfying, even guilt-filled.
When was the last time you allowed yourself a VLD and enjoyed it without a hint of indulgent guilt?
Nowadays, I try to recognise the signs and understand when I need a VLD, or even a VVLD. It is something to be announced. Sometimes I will know in good time and plan it. Others I will wake up and feel the need to take an unplanned VLD. It’s hard if I have thing to do, but I try to listen to that need.
Giving the day its name means that it is suddenly permissible to be lazy. During a VLD, it’s perfectly OK to do nothing – rather than feeling I should be doing something.
A VLD normally means time spent in inaction. One should spend no more than 20% of the day on one’s feet (which may actually be more than most office-workers’ normal days). Films, reading, doing nothing productive are all encouraged. A short trip out for a walk, or to the shops is just about acceptable.
A VVLD requires complete slobbishness. Spending 60%+ of the day in bed is highly recommended. Trashy films are a must. Reading is perhaps a little over-energetic. Work should be avoided like the plague. Talking to people limited. A VVLD is best enjoyed with phones turned off, or de-hooked.
Admittedly, when it’s sunny outside both VLD categories are a little more difficult, but still important to maintain. Winter days are perfect.
My personal prescription is that it’s important to have a VLD once a week, or fortnight at a stretch. VVLDs are called for once a month.
I also find it important to make sure that I don’t break a VLD. Often I find that after a half-day of VLD-ing, I want to leap up and go and do stuff. I’m re-energised.
Or so I think.
In fact, if I do leap up and give into this desire, the benefits of my VLD do not last as long. Unless there is a real need for action, I find it beneficial to push on through and commit to the VLD. In so doing, I often feel that it is a lot longer before I want, or need, my next VLD.
Some people use excuses to have a VLD – fishermen who spend a day sitting by a lake/river are all VLDers, whether they recognise it or not.
Here’s to not having children at the moment, when/if that moment arrives I think I’ll be in need of some new rules.
Here’s also to the great Randall – whose legacy lives on.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – A.A. Milne