I am sitting here in Extremely Short Burst Activity Land (ESBAL) jabbing both thumbs continuously at my little iPhone, shooting out this message to you. I excel in short burst activities because they are easy–you have a sense of accomplishment and you can exercise your thumbs.
One of the first business seminars I ever attended taught me that your life can be eaten up by short burst activities. You think you are accomplishing all manner of great things and you are actually doing little more than sending emojis to your pet. Your overall goals are obfuscated in the mad but happily satisfying dust cloud of activity you are in.Their advice, in 1976, was to take the long view. Set achievable goals and then break down big activities into enough do-able short burst activities so that there is a mind behind your project, not just adrenaline. I don’t think they had any idea just how trapped in ESBAL we would be in 2017.
Yet, my jabs are the way I feel this morning–erratically anxious about the world and my place in it–and happy to translate that into punctuated thumb jabs. I used to be old school and wrote in a journal book with a pen, no less, and often had a hard time reading what I wrote because I always wrote on the bus and let’s be honest, our infrastructure isn’t what it used to be. Now I can read what I write as long as I can understand spellcheck speak. For instance I just jabbed out, “Now I van ride when I eriyf.”
Isn’t spellcheck wonderful? Do they even call it spellcheck any more? Or have they renamed it something catchier like Icorrect or ffydj fudge?
Do you think my thoughts would flow better if I just took out my old pen and let this blog roar out from its tip; stretch my whole arm and wrist and really write, instead of hunching my shoulders and using the tiny brain I have at the tips of my thumbs?
Let’s try. I’m putting my phone away. I’m taking out my pen. I’m writing. (Later retyped because this blog site doesn’t accept cursive.)
I’m writing! I’m actually writing with a pen! I’m still on the bus! I’m still writing! And this is pretty hurky jerky. On the other hand it at least is one long connected thing; not put together from my typewriter head, or a thumb jab, letter by letter. With this handwriting, my letters and words literally flow together. The ink feels a bit magical like this wise liquid which someone has engineered to come out of the tip of this pen. And I have to say that the feeling of its flowing while I manipulate it is pleasurable.
I think I am less adamant in ink, need less acknowledgement, because the pleasure of the page permanently accepting this change in its chemistry, wrought by me, is acknowledgement all by itself. Also there is permanence. This hard copy page has been changed forever. I even feel less short bursty. I look out the window. The river is beautiful. The ice is breaking up and there’s a blue greenness at the base of each ice flow that has not yet risen to its crusty white top. With a pen I have time to notice these things. Somehow, I notice less when my thumbs are leading the way.
Jeez. I’m going to have to re-type all of this from my sometimes illegible journal page.
We’ve crossed the bridge, we’re two minutes from the train now. Better put the journal and pen back in my backpack for the ride. But what a nice respite. Dreamy. In the flow.
Almost there, but my phone beckons. My thumbs itch.
I long to be tapping. As if my thumbs were in charge.
Damn it to hell! Let’s face it, we’re all thumbs.
I suppose it’s only apt that the opposable thumb that is central
to human evolution and to our being able to hold a pen and write
in a journal eventually should want to take over but ,as in most autocracies,
ultimately lead to our de-evolution.
Excuse my extremely short burst of attempted wit…