If you are reading this blog entry, you are using some technological apparatus—computer, tablet, cell phone—which runs multiple processes at one time. If I click on the little apple icon on my Mac and then on “Force Quit,” for instance, I get a list of all the processes I am running right now—Microsoft Word, Safari, Finder, iTunes, iPhoto. I’m using only the first one, of course, and I could conserve some battery power by shutting down the others. But I never know when I might need to pop onto the Internet to, say, review the workings of the autonomic nervous system or see if Leonard Cohen’s new album has been released yet.
Because human beings aren’t stardust. We aren’t golden. We’re rubber—probably a synthetic type like “polychloroprene,” Wikipedia tells me—and we are bouncing our way from one thing to another, ka-boink, ka-boink, ka-boink-ka-boink-ka-boink.
How many processes am I running right now? Let me see. I am typing. Writing. Nibbling on some dry popcorn and wishing I hadn’t stepped on the scale earlier. Watching it snow. Waiting for my current “Words with Friends” opponent to take his turn. Feeling thirsty. Pushing the report I ought to be working on out of my mind. Wondering if the mail has come yet and dreading going back out into the icy wind to check. Congratulating myself on not buying the Keurig coffee maker with the landfill-clogging, wallet-depleting individual servings of exotic beverages but wishing I had some coconut chili chai—ummmm.
And this is a good day: I’m on vacation (albeit not at the farm). I meditated this morning. I even walked three miles. I ought to be focused.
But in my middle age, I find I have the attention span of a thirteen-year-old boy.
Where did I develop this bad habit? I blame work, of course. Too many projects. Too many interruptions. I end up doing twelve things at once and feeling as fuzzy-headed and jittery as if I’d drunk a whole pot of LavAzza dark roast. But since there is no worker’s compensation for multi-tasker’s syndrome—I know this, because I just looked up the law on the Internet—and I’m not old enough to retire to the farm yet, I really should …
Wait a minute. Did I just write the word “farm”?
Because it occurs to me that I don’t have trouble focusing at the farm. I washed the dishes there before I left yesterday, and I can tell you, utensil by utensil and glass by glass, exactly what I washed. How badly it was gunked up, and with what.
Ah well. I may not be stardust, but I do need to get back to the garden, one with no more than a couple of rows of sweet corn, three tomato plants, and some basil.