Metro-East Living

Pondering is daydreaming but with a serious purpose

On a miserably cold evening, I sat motionless in my favorite chair and pondered.

Ponder. It’s one of those seldom-used words I use a lot. By definition, according to a quick Google search, ponder means to “think about something carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.”

“Ponder,” for me is like a daydream or brain nap, but to others, I may appear in deep, serious thought.

When I ponder, I’m usually thinking about nothing at all, really.

“Mackin, are you OK?” someone who knows me well may ask. He or she knows me well enough to know I have few, deep serious thoughts.

“Just pondering,” I’ll say, albeit I was deep into a daydream about playing ball on the old grade school ballfields on a summer night in the 1960s.

Albeit. That’s another one of those words I like to use. According to Urban Dictionary, albeit is “an increasingly overused synonym for the words although and however, used for the sole purpose of sounding more intelligent.”

Yep. That’s me. Sometimes, I use new words to sound smart, hip.

Hip. That’s another one. Cool. Anything but awesome. Now that’s an increasingly over-used word.

I’ll say “ponder” when someone asks me a question and I’m either not ready to answer yet or I don’t have an answer.

Or maybe I was pondering it.

“Let me ponder on that,” I’ll say.

Likely, I’m buying time so I can Google an answer.

2020 Terry Mackin
Terry Mackin

In hindsight, pondering was what I was doing in grade school that really annoyed the old nuns. To them, I was looking out the classroom windows and not listening or paying attention. They were correct. Pondering also was what I was doing in high school when it may have looked like I was sleeping in the library while all other students were studying. But I was pondering. With eyes closed. And mouth open, probably.

On this recent winter night, I was pondering mostly about pondering.

I pondered about the weather. It was 2 degrees on a Wednesday afternoon but I was thinking about playing golf over the weekend when it would be in the 50s.

I do some of my best pondering on sports. Will the Blues ever win a Stanley Cup? The Cards are a better team with Goldschmidt. But are they better overall than the Cubs, Brewers or Reds?

I pondered about technology. What did we stare at all night before we had cell phones?

I pondered about pondering. Too many people have forgotten how to think about something carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion. We’re quick to judge and hit “reply.”

I come from a long line of ponderers. My grandpa would sit in his lawn chair, in his front yard in Alorton, and watch passing traffic. My dad would sit along in his living room chair, lost in thought. Daydream. Brain nap. Pondering.

I like to ponder about things that I can’t ask Alexa. Sure, she will have an answer. But not one I want to hear.

I ponder about weather, sports, family and music.

Ponder about the world today, and yesterday, and how lucky I was to grow up when we had to use old-fashioned references like a dictionary, encyclopedia or phone book, and when you got lost, you were really lost, right?

Ponder on why I love ketchup and spaghetti sauce, but I won’t eat a tomato.

Ponder about why I love old Jackson 5 music, but I’m not wild about Michael Jackson music.

Ponder about past vacations, and all the places I’d like to see someday.

Ponder about politics, but make sure my ponder is silent and not aloud because I don’t want to start a political argument with anyone.

Ponder about golf, and what are my chances of getting a hole-in-one someday? Even better, going a round without a lost ball, three putt or penalty stroke.

Pondering is a great way to pass time on a cold night, albeit not very hip.

Terry Mackin: