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A Piece of My Mind
May 7, 2003

Time to Myself

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(17):2185-2186. doi:10.1001/jama.289.17.2176

Years ago I traveled to Boston to attend a 1-day meeting, to present a seminar, and later to have dinner with old friends, who were also going to the meeting. I got off the plane, looked through my briefcase for the meeting schedule and the hotel's address, checked the date, and found that I had made the wrong arrangements and arrived a day early. Panicked, I called my secretary to see about going back for the day, then returning to Boston again on the "right" day. She said, "How nice. You have the day to yourself." I telephoned my wife, who said the same thing. I did have the whole day to myself—and it was memorable. I rode the train to Cambridge, poked around bookstores and quaint shops, had a coffee and scribbled thoughts on paper, then headed to the hotel for dinner alone. I spent the day watching people—on trains, in the squares and the streets, in restaurants. I spent the day thinking.