Tag Archives: breaking news

Distraction Dilemma: Breaking, Breaking News

 

 

As I drove out of the supermarket parking lot yesterday, I congratulated myself. Proud that I remembered to bring my groceries with me!

Years ago on a nice spring evening, a Thursday, I exited the same supermarket parking lot minus the eight bags of food and drink items I had just purchased.

Back in the days when my daughter was on the crew team at her high school. Moms (always the moms, let’s be honest here) took turns hosting the team on the Friday nights before Saturday morning regattas. We put on big spreads which, if memory serves, mostly featured some kind of pasta casserole, bowls of salad and buckets of garlic bread. I’m sure there must have been a vegetable side dish and dessert too.

On that Thursday before my turn at hosting the team dinner, I drove after work to the supermarket nearest my house with the “Crew Dinner To Buy” list in my purse. It was dinner time – I was hungry, I was tired, so was everyone else. My body may have been at the store – but my mind was still downtown – at the law firm  – too many client matters remained on that “To Do” list.  I walked up and down the aisles, pulling the items for the anticipated bunch of carb-craving teen athletes in a semi-automated fashion.

The check out lady smiled as she scanned my purchases – having a big party? Yes, I probably said. I paid, left the store and steered the overflowing cart outside the store and left it in the “pick up” area against the silver bars en route to the parking lot.  My intent must have been to get into my car and drive around to the pick up lane to retrieve the eight bags from the cart.

But instead I drove home. Two miles away.  I pulled into my driveway. Still thinking about work, I am sure. Knowing I had emails to check and a project to complete. Parked. Then opened the trunk to find it empty. Because I had left all of the bags in the cart in front of the supermarket. A swear word was likely emitted at that point.

That is the last time I recall being as distracted as I have been in recent weeks.

I did drive right back to the store. Luckily, the cart was where I had left it 10 minutes earlier, I put the bags in the trunk, drove home, took the groceries out, unpacked them, made dinner for my family, caught up on work  – and then hosted the crew dinner the next night. You know the busy/working/mom drill.

I no longer work downtown (still a mom though, and now a grandmother too, just for the record so you can tell that maybe through increased age alone, I’ve earned the right to have distracted moments.)

But now I am distracted much of the time. No longer by lawyering. Or by my kids. Or by my husband. Not by events on my calendar. And I do not have a sudden onset of ADD nor any neurological problem (I get checked.) No, my distraction comes from my own inability to focus for more than 10 minutes without having an insistent craving to turn on the news.

So I do. I check my twitter feed. I look up news alerts. I listen to the radio. I have the TV on in the background. All for fear of missing some new crisis that might have happened while I was doing the laundry or taking a shower.

The crises keep erupting, one piling on top of another, breaking news breaking into new breaking news, breathless reporters and chatty commentators. And yes, I could turn it off. Yes, I should turn it off. But I keep checking for updates.

Last night at book club we talked about this. A few of my friends are not as dominated by the need-to-know-now as I am. Lucky them! Others seem to be able to stay in control of their news needs. I’m jealous.

Part of my problem is I am less busy in the summer. I’m not taking a writing class this summer. With the end of the school year, my college-advising volunteer projects have slowed. Fewer meetings, a lighter schedule, more unstructured time.

Anticipating this summer lull, I created my own structure. A big project.  My Work-In-Progress. I am writing a novel. Writing at least four days a week.  The plan is to complete the draft by the end of August before fall semester begins and I am back in the classroom (with homework.)

What’s my “WIP” about, you ask?

A working mom, a lawyer, with two kids (how creative to use my own life as inspiration!?) dealing with friendships that go awry, possibly unscrupulous clients and unexpectedly competitive colleagues.  I even wrote an outline. And I’ve already written 50 pages – 15, 556 words, to be exact. Only 64,444 more words to go!

If only I could be more disciplined. More disciplined and not as susceptible to distractions. Like I once was as a law firm partner. Busy, busy, busy. Far too occupied to fret about possible news of ultra-scary national and world events.

Or maybe that was a less complicated time when breaking news didn’t break every ten minutes. Focus, I keep telling myself. Look away from the media. But it is difficult. Distraction is my biggest dilemma this summer.

I am certain I am not alone in feeling this way.

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Filed under Book Club, Communications, daughters, Law firm life, Lawyers, Social Media, Women, Working Moms, Working Moms, Working Women, Writing

Friends, Husbands, Media and Moms: Five Thoughts of an Adroit Hopper

 

 

woman thoughbubble

Given last week’s Fabulous Fibula Fracture, I suddenly find myself with a significant amount of time on my hands.

Time I cannot spend on my feet. Or at least on my left foot on which I cannot bear any weight. Which has turned me into a rather adroit hopper.

But I cannot hop all day long.  So how to spend this unexpected gift of time?

Thinking. And Writing.

Here’s my chance to write without any filter, to dredge up my innermost thoughts, to articulately reflect on the state of the human condition.

What do I have strong feelings about? Here’s my list of current issues – sarcasm first, serious to close:

 

1. On the Importance of Having Wonderful Friends: Even those friends who assure me in all sincerity that they will stop by, visit, bring me lunch and then forget to do so while I am home with my propped-up ankle, I still like you. I remember those VERY BUSY days when I was working f/t when I could not jam everything in. When I made promises meant in good faith as the words dripped from my lips. It’s fine, I am here – bored, hungry and lonely on the couch if you ever find a few minutes to drop by. I get it.

 

2. On the Value of a Deeply Caring Husband: Even one, like mine, who is constitutionally unable to close a bureau drawer after opening it. Who kindly opens said drawers, gets out my clothes and even helps me pull on ratty old Pilates pants over my “booted” left leg. And then “forgets” to close the bureau drawers. Or the closet doors. He thinks I am a bit off in my insistence that what was opened must then be closed. While I temporarily cannot do these chores, they will not get done. His mild little revenge on one of my pet peeves. I get it.

3. On the Efficacy of the News Media: Even before the Fabulous Fibula Fracture, I was overly attached to being well-informed. So with this extra time, I’m absorbing more content than ever. CNN. MSNBC. World affairs. Domestic Politics. I’m finally caught up. Which is why I am not at all bothered by the Breaking News crawl that flashes at the bottom of the screen for up to a full seven (I’ve counted)hours after the original event took place without providing any new details. Don’t move on, CNN. Stay with that story with no updates. Being told over and over again that the same thing has “just” happened makes me internalize it better. What an innovative news technique for us slow learners. I get it.

4. On the Need to Remind Us That We Are Getting Older: Even I recognize that aging dulls one’s ability to stay on-trend. Which is why I’m happy to be reminded via all forms of media, social and otherwise, which I now have the time to appreciate, how hard I must work to keep up.  I recently learned what “on fleek” means. I know that “Hulu” is a video streaming service, not only a dance done in Hawaii. And that “streaming” has nothing to do the rush of water downhill. Thank you, Millennials who create these new phrases and technologies to torment us, your parents, the non “digital natives.” We provided the same torment, sort of, to our own parents. I get it.

And MUCH more seriously.

 

5. On the Wisdom of Knowing What You Do Not Know: These past few weeks (and really for far longer than that) I have wanted to opine, oh how I have wanted to opine, on what I think about the uptick in mass shootings. About how my first sympathies –  beginning with Virginia Tech, running through Columbine, Sandy Hook, Tucson, Aurora – are always, bizarre as it may seem to others, for the mothers of the young male shooters, for the moms who also lost a child, now vilified for the ages. Our national focus is, as it should be, on the victims of the shootings and on the multiple, interconnected reasons for each tragedy, but somehow my heart also always goes out to the mothers who loved their sons but could not reach them. From all that I have read, I know with certainty just two things:  (i) all of these young males had access to guns, which they should not have had and (ii) that they were socially isolated, lonely individuals who needed help from their communities which they did not receive. The larger answers to this troubling puzzle?  I have the wisdom to know that I do not have those answers. But ponder them I will.

 

 

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Filed under Aging, Communications, Female Friends, friendship, Husbands, Mental Health, Midlife, Moms, Sons, Women, Women's Health, Writing, Young Adult Mental Health