Am I distracting you? A simple question that is rarely answered honestly. We all like to believe that we are able to multi-task like the most efficient of computers although the simple truth is, humans are incredibly easy to distract.
I am not saying that distraction is a bad thing. Quite the contrary. When I have shit on my mind that I just do not want to deal with, I deal with it in the simplest way possible. I do everything within my power not to think about the issue. I attempt to keep myself so blissfully distracted that whatever is bothering me is simply forgotten within the clutter. This distraction can take the form of hanging out with my nieces and nephews, deciding to do the birthday shopping for anyone whose birth anniversary falls within the next 5 months (quite a list within my family), go to the gym or my all time go to: throw on music and go absolutely nuts cleaning the house and de-cluttering. It is amazing what can be accomplished as far as house cleaning when you are trying to scrub away thoughts and feelings. I have a confession to make. My name is (yeah, as if I am going to include my own horrible name – call me Inkwell or Inky) and I am an emotional cleaner or emo clean freak if you prefer.
Sometimes however, distractions can be a bad thing. We all know that when we are driving we shouldn’t use our mobile phones, turn around while driving to have a conversation with the kids in the backseat (unfortunately I know someone who does this all the time) or fiddle with the sound system. Doing any of these things, assuming you get caught would be enough to get you a ticket at best or potentially cause an accident. Though why is it that these distractions are considered horrible and people waving banners, or just congregating in groups on the street corner and holding signs is perfectly acceptable? I don’t know about you but I find this behaviour way more distracting than having a conversation with somebody in my car. I am not a fan of politicians in general and collectively I find them even worse. They and their supporters are the main culprits when it comes to this. People with self-made signs advertising for work generally prop up a sign at traffic lights that stop lots of traffic but don’t usually make any attempt to wave or cause further distraction. Politicians and others that are looking for maximum attention will wave, holler and occasionally step right into the middle of the road to take a photo opportunity and congratulate themselves for how they have personally dealt with congestion or the poor road condition. They are unpredictable and annoying and in my opinion, far worse than mobile phones or attempting to juggle a coffee cup whilst applying mascara.
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. I am sure that most people have been publicly ridiculed by a teacher for daydreaming during class. I always liked it when I could parrot back to them what they had been discussing, since of course they would assume that I wasn’t listening at all. Better yet, not be listening at all and correctly guess the answer. That really pissed them off. We spend our days in little bubbles of self thought. Caught up in our hopes, desires and fantasies and just trying to get through life one day at a time (on a side note: I really hate that expression – I do not know why it is that I use it since it isn’t really possible to get through life two or three days at a time).
In the case of the media and the political world, I generally think that the distraction caused by the barrage of usually nonsensical events and timings as well as the coverage of them, if more to do with misdirection than distraction. They do not wish to distract so much as they seek to misdirect our gaze elsewhere, like a magician moving mirrors around in the hopes that we will not see the banality that is the magic trick.
In my humble opinion, it is distraction, more than anything that serve to keep us sane whilst also imbedding a little chaos into our lives. I know I hate it when someone rocks up at my desk while I am busy working on a report. People love to see me jump when they suddenly start talking and I have been so wrapped up in becoming number blind that I have assumed they are either using the photocopier stationed behind my chair, or have walked straight past me. Friends stopping by for a chat, no matter how busy I am, will always be a welcome distraction. Trying to prepare dinner or watch television while kids are running all around, is not really my cup of tea when it comes to the more chaotic side of the equation although there was a time when I would have relished that life. When love and hate collide, we are left with little else except distractions. All that matters really is are the distractions serving us, or are we serving the distractions? Life is an infinite loop of possibilities and missteps. We can become so focused on a path, whether it be right or wrong, that it can take a distraction either large or small to divert our course.
6 years ago, or there about, I used a distraction method to get my ex out of my head. I was bored, had scrubbed my parents house from top to bottom and decided to do something on a whim and get the tattoo I had wanted since I was 15. I was 24 at the time and thought, fuck it, that will keep my mind off things for a good hour and really piss off the ex (bonus!). This seemingly little distraction, lead me on a path to meet my current fiance who was the person to design my awesome little elephant tattoo.
Thinking back to this, when someone asks me, “Sorry, am I distracting you?” I have to answer with, “Sure, but why not”. After all, you never know how important that little distraction may be.