It’s nearly 2:30 in the afternoon. I’ve been going hard on my job as a route driver since I pulled my truck out of our facility at seven a.m. I have worked on catching up since then but am still way behind. To make it worse I need to stop to get gas which will kill any realistic chance I have of getting caught up. A new truck and a half a day of new stops have contributed to me being behind. They have contributed to the feeling that this is going to last forever, that I’m now too far behind to catch up. This in turn creates the belief that I am too old for this job now. I am creating the reality in my mind that if I don’t get the hang of it, it could cost me my job.
“Oh yea, gas!”
New company card. New pin. The pump wants to know. It tells me that I am using an “Unsupported PIN” I try to think. The small TV embedded in the pump comes on and shrieks irrelevance at me. I try again. “Please see cashier.” The small TV embedded in the pump shrieks more irrelevance. This time it about an aging rock bank and how “that song saved our career”. Why do I stop a listen?. Please see cashier. Now my big truck is suddenly in the way of the person who just pulled in behind me. It is windy and cold. The embedded TV continues to shriek at me. Very quickly the embedded TV has changed to show a pretty women who now grabs at my mind as I stand, eyes taken by her. Again, why do I look? Listen? I don’t even know what she’s saying! The embedded TV seems to get louder. I can feel eyes on me from the car waiting. The embedded TV doesn’t stop shrieking, grabbing at my thoughts. The pretty woman disappears and there is a second of blessed silence. I reclaim my mind and recover my thoughts. I use my own card for the gas and make a get away. One way to measure the loss created by the embedded TV is that it cost me twenty dollars.
Driving away, I feel pain in my mind. My mind, my thoughts, my own personal and private mental energy has been assaulted. I will get the twenty bucks back from work. Even if the thoughts and mental energy created before standing at the pump with the embedded TV were not my best, they were there for a reason. I did not give the embedded, shrieking, Speedway TV my permission to steal them away from me.
This experience gives some context to the challenge we face as regular folk, not to mention as writers. A stream of aggressive, targeted distractions (disguised as benefits), is coming at us nearly all day long. All of these have originated from outside our own mind. Would I have been able to write anything of unique value with the Speedway TV still echoing, without permission, in my mind hours later? No way I would have been able to. In fact, this is the next day. As far as the value goes, you be the judge.
“May I help who’s next?”