Let’s just kick this off by mentioning what I have accomplished since sitting down to write this blog post. And by “sitting down to write this blog post” I don’t mean to imply it was an open and shut affair. Not counting the eight to ten false sits would be disingenuous. But I’ve been called to duty by an endless sequence of important tasks which has hindered my progress. For example:
- Buying mosquito repellent bracelets on Amazon
- Looking up what a mushroom expert is called (a Mycologist)
- Finding the best electric switch you can turn on and off with an app, and then deciding I don’t need one.
- Skimming a lot of popular NYT articles
- Aggressively deleting duplicate photos on my computer
- Copying and pasting quotes about distraction into Evernote.
This distraction business is really distracting. In between watching Ozzyman YouTube videos, I read a book by Charles Duhigg. Charles says distractions and interruptions are addicting. I mean like, actually addicting. Like crack cocaine and raisins. I love raisins.
I took a break from wishing someone a happy birthday on Facebook and clicked through to an article about Seneca, writing in the first century:
"No activity can be successfully pursued by an individual who is preoccupied … since the mind when distracted absorbs nothing deeply.
Living is the least important activity of the preoccupied man.
Learning how to live takes a whole life, and it takes a whole life to learn how to die."
Shit, this is worrisome.
We saw some art in Miami by Penelope Umbrico. She cruised around on Flickr and printed out all of the photos people had posted. Of sunsets.
Everyone loves a sunset, even though they happen every single day in every single place. You just have to get yourself properly positioned and eureka: a sunset. It’s just that we don’t often bother to get us a sunset. Because we're distracted. Even though sunsets clearly make us get all weepy and broody about dying after a meaningless life.
But even if we stick it to distraction and manage to tingle beneath the beginning of some sunset, we can't hold out until the end. Because right in the middle of all the gloriousness, apparently a whole lot of us simply must look away.
We fumble around with our cellular telephones and snap a photograph. Or eighteen. It's irresistible! And then there's the allure of #filters.
Back to Joan Dideon:
"In theory these mementos serve to bring back the moment. In fact they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here."