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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Undivided Attention: a System

     "I have a system." 
     It was several months--maybe a year, at this point--when she finally told me. It's an ingenious trick that, I am certain, everyone should use.
     "I have a friend on standby. If the date doesn't go well, I send the text to have her call. Pretend that it's a family emergency. That way I get out without having to be a jerk."
     They always say that it could happen to you--something outrageous; something uncommon to the point of rarity. Faking memory loss or death to get out of a marriage rare. The story would be picked up by the Times or Reader's Digest. You'll see it if you're still a reader, which--let's face it--you probably aren't; who reads the newspaper anymore or the Digest? But it is safe to say that you will hear about it. No matter how far away you remove yourself from traditional written media, no matter how far you remove yourself from the news and nonfiction, the power of oral storytelling will always remain. And among the insipid gossip of celebrities or those who posture themselves as such, you will hear this story. Certainly, it will change. The facts and names will, but the core of the moral will remain. It could happen to you. It almost happened to me.
     And it all boiled down to that dinner. The one piece of normalcy that my fractured psyche could offer, almost made her put in the call within the first five minutes.
     "No one ever made me dinner before."
     "I thought it was nice."
     "It's weird."
     Which makes me wonder just where are we going in this day and age. It was not my showing off my cooking skills. It wasn't my manners, or unwillingness to make a move. It was not the fact that I cleaned house; she found that weird, also. It was the strangest part of me. It my fear of being left without anything to say that kept that call from coming.
     "So, Elliott, there is no such thing as undivided attention?"
     No. There is not. Like I said months ago before getting distracted and sick and learning just how poor my time management skills really are when it comes to doing things on my own without any monetary reward, it probably never existed. Our attention spans are just as bad today as they were fifty years ago. After all, our parents couldn't learn from history--or properly learn it. Neither can we.
     But for a shining moment I was able to hold--through Nietzschean practice and enough material to make Oprah feel like an introvert--that call off until her friend thought that she had been murdered. Then the call that came was one of, "I'm fine. I'm having a really good time."
     I think the moral really is this: be dedicated; motivated; practiced. Just because you can put something out willy nilly, doesn't mean you should. The extra love put into something is the difference between a fake emergency and a kiss good night at 3:30a.

That's all from Elliott at the Kitchen Table, drinking Blue Moon Valencia Grove Amber.