1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Distracted from distraction by distraction

T.S. Eliot called it a place of disaffection, but young people generally call it "boredom." Somewhere Walker Percy traces the origin of the word to 14th century France. Apparently it's related to the word "to stuff." Thus one who is bored is over-stuffed with something. I witnessed a sample of that "something" recently at a local public library.

LinkA high school student arrived at a vacant desk popped open her binder and began to study (or so I thought). Three or four minutes must have elapsed. She pulled out a cellphone and chattered thus: "What are you doing? Do you want to come to the library? I'm so bored."

There is a wonderful but disturbing scene in Fight Club in which Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) kisses and then sprinkles "Rupert's" hand with lye. The pain is, of course, unimaginable. Tyler tells Jack: This is the greatest moment of your life and you're off somewhere in La-La Land, missing it.

That is the scene that popped into my head at the library. The ubiquity of technology strips us of patience, which is always a kind of suffering.

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