A friend of mine is an architect. She is an intriguing girl. She knows to funnel the wildest ideas into a brilliant building design. She is a tad chaotic and stressed by nature but miraculously and steadily knows to turn chaos into order and, in her case, into a buildable object.
Construction workers love her for her down-to-earth and problem-solving approach because before she studied architecture, she has been a construction supervisor. She had started as a construction worker and fought her way up to a supervisor position. She is one-of-the guys, speaks their language and above all, she knows what they are dealing with professionally in their daily construction work, their practical challenges. She is inventive.
She has a peculiarity. She occasionally stands in front of the window with her hands in her pockets. She happens to stare out for as long as a quarter of an hour. Completely detached from her surroundings, she seems to watch traffic, people, birds, whatever. For those brief moments, she lives in her universe, undisturbed. Talking to her makes no sense. In other words, she is CLOOWING.
When she ‘wakes’ from her cloowing, she turns to her design table and makes notes and sketches in her architect notebook (blank pages, no lines) with her stylish drawing fountain pen.
Recently I came to fetch her to visit an exhibition and waited for her in an ante-room. I had the chance to observe her in her working environment through the glass partitions, and I saw her ‘cloowing’. At that moment, I didn’t know what she was doing.
In the car, I asked her about what she was doing. We were late because of it. And she explained that when she faces a seemingly unsolvable problem, primarily technical, she goes staring out of the window and watches nothing in particular. It is observing without actually seeing; hard to explain. It is meant to take her mind off matters on hand and redirect her focus. Somehow it boosts her creativity so that solutions to design problems emerge.
This is called Creatively Looking Out Of the Window, cloowing. She is a true believer in the value of detaching herself from the turmoil of the moment.
Are you in some rat race, and every day lack time, consider cloowing at times. Go to a window and watch without seeing, think without brain-racking, and let go of the moment’s delusion. It may take a little training, but your creativity and problem-solving will undoubtedly improve, and you will find solutions in hidden corners.
Cloowing is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it is a brilliant thing to ‘do’.
Loafing or stirring the air, no accurate synonyms, may not cause the same effect. But in general, briefly ‘doing’ nothing takes your mind off matters on hand and gives your brain free rein.
So, the dictionary meaning of to cloow is: to give your brain free rein.