Every month I try to write a story using words or phrases submitted to me by others. You can submit some to me by using my twitter @OdlyOtter and the hashtag
#createsomething below is this month’s submission and story. Enjoy.
“This is all just metaphysical dribble! He said as he threw another paper to the side.”
“Now Father, that is no way to speak of your students.” said the man at the opposite side of the desk.
“Sorry son. But it baffles my mind that it is so hard for these first years to articulate themselves. I am adamant that their minds are no longer able to focus. It’s the age of distraction I tell you!” The more he spoke the more excited he became.
He looked at his watch. It was close to 7 pm. “Perhaps you can tell me more about this age of distraction on the car ride home? Mother will have dinner waiting for us back at the cottage and I feel as if I have not eaten in forever.”
“Agreed, let us leave this dribble for tomorrow. Seeing your mother will improve my mood and restore some much-needed sanity.” He smiled as he packed his briefcase.
“Alright, tell me more about this age of distraction.” He said they drove down the road.
“Ah! Yes, the age of distraction. I am convinced that we are allowing our minds to become increasingly lazy and unfocused by exposing ourselves to a mixture of information concurrently.” He glanced towards his son who was typing on his phone. “Just as you are doing right now.”
“Huh, you mean my phone? Sorry, I am just responding to an email but I am listening.”
“Oh son” He chuckled. “That is precisely my point. How can we focus on a single goal or purpose amongst a myriad of notifications constantly begging for our attention?”
Glancing up from his phone to the road and then to his father before returning to his phone, “So is this just an attack on smartphones then?”
“No, the smartphone is merely a good example. The point is that our minds are no longer allowed to be captured by a single thought because we are trying to multi-task. We are unable to think deeply on a topic or approach a debate because our minds are so quickly distracted. As an example, if I were to say a word you do not know such as ‘teetotaler’ one of your first instincts is to take out your phone and search the word online for a definition.’ He paused. “You just searched the word didn’t you.”
“….Maybe” He smiled at his dad before continuing his email.
“You see my son there is no longer a reverence for learning. Our minds live on such a shallow level and are lazy because it is almost too easy to just read a quick search result to find something out. Such a mind is unable to write good papers because they just can’t do the mental hard work anymore. There is also no reverence for the present. Our time is split between what is happening around us and what is happening on the screen in front of us never fully paying attention to either. Always being distracted. That is why I say this is the age of distraction and until we realize it we will never be able to think or be focused again.”
“I don’t know dad, while I agree with you, it sounds cynical. I have been able to handle this email and talking to you at the same time, haven’t I? Perhaps some can’t focus but that doesn’t mean we are distracted.” He put his phone in his pocket.
“Son, I have driven around our block three times while you were on your phone to see if you would notice but you didn’t. Welcome to the age of distraction.”