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Quality Time

The phrase has gained popularity by its usefulness: in the same moment it manages to be both broad and precise. Looking back on the events of a day, I have no difficulty in separating low-grade spells (doing laundry, driving through some congested city streets) from more high-grade spells (reading a good piece in a magazine, hearing my friend Mo explain how he hopes to Ö etc.). One canít tell when it is coming --- if you meet someone in the laundry room, that may turn out the most interesting half-hour of the day; but one can tell when it has been --- the feeling that some episode was time well spent is perfectly definite.

            Beside being easily recognized, there is also the breadth: one can enjoy quality time alone or with friends, working at a project or just being a spectator at a sport, laughing or being serious Ö. The range of situations where quality time can be enjoyed is as broad as in the Tree and we come to the questions:

                        Are they related?

                        Is quality time specifically those times during which we get pleasure from matching?

              I donít plan to press the point but I can certainly see some overlap. For example, a conversation: if I feel that I expressed myself well, and that Mo understood me, and that what Mo said in reply was new, cogent and worth my attention --- then the time of that conversation was quality time. And its connection with three kinds of matching is set out on the three twigs say it well, You got it! and I get you! Conversely, if things donít match up, then the conversation is barren --- it is not quality time.

            All across the top of the Tree, I think we find the same. In craftsman-work, music, poetry or the visual arts, if I am rewarded by good matching my time is quality time, whereas if things donít come off well, being disappointed or frustrated is not quality time.

            On the other hand, some matching experiences have no impressive quality. For example, sorting socks or spoons, or tidying the house in general --- the pleasure is definite but so small that the activities continue to rate as mundane. So let me suggest that most quality time involves pleasure-from-matching but not all pleasure from matching yields quality time. Can you have quality time without matching? To some extent in a few circumstances, I think Yes, but that is on a minor scale. I am inclined toward the following view: If in the upcoming weekend you would like to achieve some quality time, to ask Where am I going to get pleasure-from-matching? is a good way to form some ideas.


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