Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Internet is Kong for People

Merlin and Varda are bored. Lately, it's been either too hot or too wet for us to spend much time outside and the plethora of mushrooms makes a circuit of the yard a yelling, running irritation for all of us. The answer for them is a plastic toy roughly in the shape of a snowman with a hole in which treats can be stuffed. Sometimes the treat is accessible with effort, sometimes it becomes permanently wedged in the toy, causing much barking over who gets to carry it around and shake it at me in hopes of getting other, more accessible, treats added to the center compartment.

Usually these toys are sold under the name Kong. I'm coming to feel that the internet is fulfilling the same function for me--I sit here and poke around, hoping to come across something interesting or useful or entertaining. Too often, I'll keep poking, even if treats aren't forthcoming. It wouldn't be a bad thing, except that I'm not 'bored' in the sense of having nothing to do. I'm 'bored' in the sense of 'overwhelmed by all the stuff I should be doing such that the brain goes "gaacck" and refuses to function.' Stressed to boredom. Which is perfect for distractions, because you are motivated to displace your attention rather than just at a natural lull in your activities (suitable for a nap or a walk or a game of Don't Eat the Mushrooms).

Reading requires attention, the feeling of deadlines slipping by vitiates attention through banking a certain amount of distress at the thought of deadlines, and voila, one spends two hours clicking through all the links occasioned by one phone call from one's mother. Still stressed but thoroughly distracted, one is full of the random 'treats' of random info.

This post is a salt-free snack.

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