By Susan Dromey Heeter
I muse joyfully this week about being “off” – about feeling off, turning off, celebrating off.
I’ve spent this week off season on the south shore of Massachusetts and loved being off, acting off, not going off at long lines, crowds and noise. Turning off is bliss, being off – both literally and figuratively is delightful.
Yes, I have used the phrase, “There really is something just a little bit off about him – or her.” And, God knows, that phrase has most definitely been used about me. It’s empowering to intuit the “offness” of a person, a place, a situation. I celebrate that sixth sense.
I also celebrate off season. My daughter, niece and I just spent four nights down south – well, south of Boston where, yes, the weather hovered around 60 and it rained incessantly but where crowds were non-existent and when we travelled to Chatham, Mass., had no trouble parking. We took a beautiful tour of the Chatham Bars Inn where the staff was not only relaxed, they were graciously willing to guide us around the beautiful grounds and rooms.
When we ate at the Town Squire, we were one of the few tables. Our lovely server said it was bliss not to yell amidst the din of diners, to be able to whisper and be heard. It’s good off season to talk with people with time, to ask them of their lives, to watch as they prepare for the calm before the storm of high season.
I like “off” for space as well – and while I had no need for sun screen this week, traffic was minimal and as I write this column in Scituate, Mass., I hear the birds and I blissfully, do not hear children screaming. I slept ’til 9 a.m. with pure unadulterated peace: no cars, no traffic, no loud summer noises. Off season is to be cherished, people will be on soon enough, ready for the tourists, the height of summer, the intensity of being “on.”
And being off – that, too, is to be cherished. I like being a little off – admire when people are just a bit off, like when a three-year-old wears her shoes on the wrong feet, when a four-year-old wears his Halloween costume well into spring, when I watch Kenneth on Thirty Rock.
People celebrate being off, taking the day off, going off somewhere to relax. I will celebrate screen-free week next week when the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood suggests getting off screen. It’ll be awkward to be off screen but then, like taking off to somewhere new, I’ll actually remember the journey, celebrate the peace of my attention diverted somewhere else. Off is good on so many levels.
And may you, joyful musers, enjoy your own off time, going off, being off, celebrating off. And I’m off right now – soon to be on but cherishing that blissful button “Off.”
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.