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The Secret World of Doing Nothing$
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Orvar Lofgren and Billy Ehn

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262614

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262614.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Secret World of Doing Nothing

Billy Ehn

Orvar Löfgren

University of California Press

This chapter illustrates a supermarket scene wherein shoppers were buying their daily needs. The author was keen to notice how they go about doing everything from picking up stuffs and standing in the checkout lane. His attention was on a particular man who was able to take things from the right place without making any fuss and how he went about checking out faster than anyone else. This chapter highlights the excitement and enthusiasm that this man had. It also talks about some men and women who were informally asked about such kinds of secret competitions. In their imagination any everyday situation could become a game; any public space—street, pavement, escalator—could turn into the arena of a heated contest. This kind of imaginative ingenuity ritualizes and dramatizes daily life. The author introduces three such themes of non-events. One of the themes is the activity of waiting for something or somebody. Another theme is routine, the performance of mundane or repetitive tasks to which one doesn't give much thought. Both waiting and routine are conducive to a third activity, daydreaming, fantasizing while physically doing other things.

Keywords:   fantasizing, waiting, daydreaming, imaginative ingenuity, routine

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