I did a talk last night, and it was inside and there were lots of flies buzzing around me. I had a mini anxiety attack and ran out of there. (It wasn’t noticeable and I finished my talk … but it still freaked me out a bit.) I’m not sure what it is about flies that give me anxiety, but it’s probably the sheer number of them. On my patio if I sit out there for any length of time (5 minutes) I am deluged by masses of flies. I’m reminded of the movie Amityville Horror or the Exorcist where the mass of flies indicated evil and possible devil infestation. And the fact that they are horrible and dirty … whatever, evil or just dirty, I am not amused.
So my attention wavers to focus on the flies, and I flub up my talk. Or when I was leaving the parking lot after riding this past weekend and my focus wasn’t clear, and I backed over the metal sign proclaiming “don’t park on the grass”. Or as I was driving down the road with my bike attached to the back of the car … I couldn’t locate my phone only to find that it was still mounted on my bike. Distractions are not healthy things in my life.
As our phones continue to be ever present in our lives, are they merely distractions from dealing with reality? (“Really Steve, you’re comparing my smart phone to flies?” … yes, yes I am.) Whatever constant pull from reality (flies, phones, TV remote, daydreaming); the problem lies in our rapidly reducing span of attention. I used to say I could pay attention for 2 hours, now it’s less. (Now, less than 5 minutes most days.) As I move forward into maturity, I would like nothing less than to be able to step back, turn off the noise (phone, news, text, Facebook) and swat away with no e-distractions. Ahh, my golden years.