It’s hardly news that we all have our own ways to get comfortable, some more elaborate than others.
The after-work quest may involve a cold beer, a glass of wine or something stronger. There are those who work off their stress by running, walking, looking great in Spandex or Under Armour, or simply riding an exercise bike while watching Judge Judy.
Others, like me, just take a load off. As we know all too well, some days pile more than others.
For troglodytes who hang on kicking and scratching at the outer limits of civilization — I’m part of that dwindling demographic — comfort involves reading the newspaper or a book.
My feeling is that if you want to use a Kindle, iPad or a phone to read, go ahead. It’s your comfort, not mine.
Mine, at least in warmer weather, starts with kicking off my shoes and socks. I’m hot-blooded, some would say a hothead, so getting comfortable is synonymous with staying cool.
My second step is to take off my work clothes and lay them down on the couch. We’re a two-income couple, so we figure we’ve earned twin couches.
The next step is where I usually mess up. While taking the phone out of my pocket might not seem like a big deal — particularly to the more energetic among us — forgetting it means you assume the prone position, let go of the mandatory “ahhh” and have to get right back up again.
Most nights, I either forget the phone or don’t remember to take off my watch, an adornment that adds three degrees to my body temperature.
The good thing about the watch is that I can take it off anytime and toss it onto the coffee table or couch.
It isn’t a Lucien Piccard or anything, and no Timex in timekeeping history has ever broken as the result of a three-foot toss onto a couch.
I always feel more secure having a cold drink as part of the total comfort equation, much like an incapacitated person might with an emergency call button.
And since I’ve never had a problem unwinding, even when I was drinking enough coffee and caffeinated diet drinks to keep Rip Van Winkle awake, I don’t need alcohol to take the edge off.
Anyone who knows me knows my edge fell off years ago.
With reading a key part of my high-maintenance, self-pampering comfort quest, I keep a novel on the coffee table, grab the newspaper or, if I’m desperate, scroll through Facebook.
My wife usually plucks the sports section from the paper for me, which I thumb through in a reclining position that has to involve two couch pillows — not one — to support my head and my neck.
My workaday unwind has been enhanced no end by baseball. There’s been a Royals game on TV almost every night, and you can depend on me to watch the way Kansas City depends on Clay Chastain to make streetcar proposals.
Naturally, I began to panic when I realized the season was ending and I’d have to think about what to do each night.
Complex tasks such as thinking, deciding and doing are all enemies of relaxation, and every night I’d wind up fretting — yet another burr in relaxation’s hindquarters.
A recurring nightmare I have is wallowing through 600-some-odd TV stations in order to find something tolerable. I don’t know how it’s possible to have that many stations and not find one you like.
As a consequence of my limited preferences, I know all too well that a person can only learn so much about Hitler’s final days from the History Channel before rolling up in a fetal position and whimpering.
I’m not a football, basketball or hockey fan, so sports won’t be a viable solution for me unless I develop a sudden passion for professional poker or cage fighting. Same goes for house hunting, house flipping and house renovating.
I think of comfort and relaxation as a building and certainty as its foundation. Without a post-work plan, I’d likely flounder, and who wants to flop around like a grounded fish from one idea to another, one room to another or one TV station to another?
With so much at stake, I think of the successful kickback as the human equivalent of recharging a phone. You plug it at night, and by morning you’re ready to make a call.
The opposite is true with comfort and relaxation. If you unplug tonight, you may have the wherewithal to answer the call tomorrow.
Built for comfort but not for speed? Tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org