Does anyone else ever have the impression that you’ve just woken up and have been living in some dreamy haze running on some kind of autopilot for the last however long?
It happens to me more than I care to admit. I’ll be standing around smoking a cigarette, and all of a sudden feel like “I’m back! What the hell have I been doing! Have I screwed anything up while I was cruising along there?”
I don’t know what it is, maybe the first signs of some deep seated psychological issue I’ll have to deal with when it come crashing full blown into the forefront when I’m 40 and can’t stop naming the paint speckles on the walls. The beginning of some sort of dis-associative personality disorder? Who knows.
Maybe it’s just me constantly thinking about stuff not immediately in my surroundings, leading me to fuzz out what actually goes on around me unless it someone does something to really snap me out of it and get my attention. I know my ex used to complain I tuned her out all the time, but now I realize that was probably because deep down inside I knew she was a crazy sociopathic automaton sent here by some alien race to really show the full breadth and scope of my emotional joy/pain response, and thus my subconscious mind must have been trying to prevent her evil alien voodoo from working. (An effort, that while valiant, failed. Unfortunately.)
I also think it may have something to do with the sheer overload of information we deal with in our lives. Now don’t get me wrong, information overload is both my job and my hobby. I love it. Google is the all knowing oracle as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know how I would live without it, I just know that I would know a whole lot less. I mean, I can’t even remember the last time I wanted to know something, but couldn’t find it on Google. Can you?
I used to be addicted to TV when I was a little kid. I think primarily this was due to my parents choosing to severely limit my TV intake, thus triggering the notorious child response of “if I can’t have it, I want it oh so much more” that also typically leads college freshman from sheltered homes to a downward spiral of S.T.D’s and booze their first year. My parents didn’t mind me occasionally drinking, or smoking plants besides tobacco, thus I never went crazy with either until much later. However, they didn’t like me watching TV. I couldn’t watch G.I. Joe ever, which I am still to this day thankful for. But any time I would go over to my grandparents house, I was GLUED to the TV the entire time there. It was summers full of MTV and the occasional lap up and down the street on the skateboard.
Now though, TV is immensely boring. Even interesting shows on the Discovery Channel and such are boring, simply because just sitting and staring doesn’t seem like it’s doing enough. I need to be clicking, constantly chasing down references in the content I’m digesting and getting a broader view on things. TV, for obvious reasons, doesn’t provide such ability, and thus doesn’t sustain my attention for very long.
Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at is that all of this culminates into me leading a life where my internal narrative is pretty much driven off of information I’ve read, and not so much things I’ve actually done, or places I’ve gone. I don’t know how many times in conversation you will hear me say “I read this article that said…” or something to that effect, but it’s bound to be a lot. And I can only assume that such symptoms must be shared by an increasing amount of people in our society as it becomes more and more information saturated. This is most obviously demonstrated I think by the popularity of blogs. What is it about reading about someone else’s life, someone who you very well may not like or be interested in at all if you met in person, that is so appealing? The anonymity, the voyeurism involved? A combination? It ultimately doesn’t matter though, because I’m certainly hooked. Along with many others.
It marks quite a turnaround. Remember when “home” pages with pictures of cats and all sorts of useless information about your life was a favorite bitching topic of those who believe the Internet should contain only information that is useful, and that by throwing all this crap out there, we harm the signal to noise ratio? Whatever happened to that school of thought? Blogs are essentially just slightly fancier home pages. But for some reason, a big change has come to pass and they have blow up into the next big thing. (Or have they have jumped the shark already?)
Jumped the shark or not, why the change? Is it possibly a desire for intimate personal connection that the modern world has stifled? I don’t have any answers. Only questions.
Anyway…my incredibly short attention span seems to have burned itself out on this train of thought. So I’m off to go dig up some more useless trivia, and read about the lives of people I’ll almost certainly never meet.