Naming decades, centuries etc. is normal in the modern times.

Times of the hippies (60ies-70ies), times of ugly hairdo (80ies) and so on are the latest. Renaissance, Middle ages and Industrialisations for longer periods comes to mind here.

How about right now? Apart from Global Warming what sets the now apart from other time periods? In my mind it’s fairly easy:

Interruptions!

Sitting with Granny (at her 77th birthday) and not only are we interrupted by her phone, which is quite inside the norm since we’re in her house, but also my own phone buzzes, telling me someone has something to tell me right now. Other guests are also interrupted by their phones. A cacophony of sounds preventing us from sitting in peace.

Even with the caller id shown on the display it’s not easy to estimate, whether or not this particular call is urgent enough for me to let them interrupt whatever Granny and I are doing right now. I believe the others might have the same “problem”?

Back in time a family had to walk or run to contact others. Rich folks could send a servant on a horse. Carriage meant even richer folks.

Later came the telegraph. Still you had to physically get to the nearest place with a sender and receiver.

Telephone was invented not that long after, but humans seemed to embrace the invention quite fast. It was not cheap though, so my own grandmother told me about how neighbours in a stairway shared one telephone number. I was quite old – around 10 yrs old – before my family got their own telephones, yet they were an apparatus in each flat/house.

To discover that someone was  eager to talk to me, I had to be home. Once outside I had no idea whether someone had something to tell or ask me. Away from home meant peace in some way.

Mobile phones meant instant reaction to a caller.

Caller ID a few years later made it possible to prioritise by whom I let myself get interrupted. Skype on the computer plus instant messaging on tons of sites online makes for the possibility to get interrupted big time while spending time online.

I’ve chosen not to have the instant messaging opened on the sites I visit, Skype is only open when I feel the surplus energy to take it on me to follow the debates going on there. Or I can just open a chat with one of the contacts. Still it’s yet another case of having to prioritise. Having to make choices.

TV is on, freezer is spluttering, coffee maker is humming. I started having the idea for this post several days ago, but today is the first in 7 days I had the energy to get online.

My coffee has gone into my system. I need another cup and gets out into the kitchen. Dishes for the past week are standing tall. I empty the dish washer for the clean items and fill it with dirty cups and plates. I check the salt and other stuff, adds soap and start the machine. Back in my chair the noises from the dish washer blend in with the other sounds.

A few sentences interrupted by the fun scenes in “An Idiot Abroad” (If you don’t know it, check it out. It’s hilarious) and my cup needs a refill. Waiting for the coffee maker to heat the water I clean the items that can’t go into the dish washer and place them on a cloth next to the sink. Back into the chair.

I suddenly think about a question I have to ask my daughter and phone her. After a whole page of notes next to me, we end the call. My attention is now split between the telly, the sounds of the house equipments, the notes I just made and this post.

The Idiot on the telly is now climbing Mount Fuji when his phone is ringing. He’s also telling his thoughts all the way up to the summit, and I have to presume he’s interrupted once in a while by the bloke carrying the camera.

My attention get caught by a movement in my garden. One of the bunnies out there is running around like crazy, making me laugh out loud. Five or eight beeps tells me the dish washer is now done. My head turns and I look at the latest painting I finished. My thoughts are now shifting like a flag in a gale and it takes a conscious effort to get it to concentrate about finishing this post. But first I need to visit the loo.

It’s Sunday. My day off. It may sound crazy to need a day off when I’m retired, but I assure anyone reading this, that it’s something I cherish. It gives me a sense of rhythm. All days can end up looking the same without it.

What do I want to achieve on this Sunday? Actually nothing planned – the whole idea with a day off is to avoid having plans for the day. But nevertheless I’ve already gotten the dishes done, helped a friend with a toe problem, spend time online and hopefully I’ll end up with this post finished as well.

The next week I’m going to attent a painting class. From 10 am till 2 pm every day Saturday included. Next Sunday is again a day off.

I’ve tried to keep the planner free of other appointments for the week, but yesterday when I got home, I discovered a text on my phone, that a friend needed me to help out her mum with a foot problem. Since the mum lives in UK and just visiting for a week, I agreed for an interruption of my painting class week, and texted for them to come on Monday evening.

So far it’s the only other appointment for the week, but I suspect it’ll be easy for the rest of the world to interrupt me, unless I close down my phone and computer, ignore the freezer’s noises, spend time in the garden when I get home from class instead of turning on the telly and gaze out the windows, keep the telly shut off even in the evening and …

… sorry! My phone rang.

… so … what was I going to tell with this post?

It’s no wonder the attention span of many of the people I meet – and me – is around 30 seconds. The modern brain is adapting to the fact that each and every activity in our lives now are bound to be interrupted!

Choices? Yeah, right! I’m retired with physical handicap and pains requiring quite a large part of my brains capacity to cope, making me stand out in most circles as it is. Standing out by being unable to be reached for too long at a time has to be something I need to think about. Do I want to be different – to stand out – in yet another way? Can I live with the risk of loosing what relatively few connections I got by being unreachable?

Do others think about stuff like that?

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