Time continued

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

While about today, I figured that I’d listen to a song I enjoy. I turned out of the hardware store’s parking lot, after noting a product called traction grit in bags, a beautiful name to remember for the story writer–He sanded the sidewalk with traction grit/the rear seat rubbed (felt, cut) like traction grit against his back/traction grit had been sprinkled (tossed) over the grounds where students had been slipping their way to exams and study halls.

Anyway, I started listening to the tune and then noticed that I’d been distracted (perhaps by the name “traction grit”) and had missed most of it. I clicked back to the start, reminding myself to remember to listen. Moments later, I returned to myself and remembered that I had been disregarding the tune once again. I also noticed that I was nearing my destination–a lighting store–and hadn’t really remembered riding the road. I hadn’t noticed my passage. Nor had I been listening to the song.

There’s a metaphor here somewhere, beyond the simple idea of the meaning of time.

(By the way, before someone critiques my driving habits or considers me a danger to others, you do this too).


4 responses to “Time continued”

  1. Lynn S says:

    Yeah, I do. I can do just about anything on autopilot.

  2. Neha says:

    Either you’re in complete zen mode or you’re just over tired. Be careful with the driving in this icy season.

  3. Carol says:

    Are you really surprised by this behavior (considering the time of year)?

    To keep yourself “in the present” try a different/unfamilar route to your destination. Or, better yet, take 5 minutes and close your eyes — preferably not while driving — and really focus your mind on the music. If your mind wanders, bring it back. (Don’t be disappointed if you cannot do it for the whole 5 min. the first time.)

    You might find that five minutes could have a positive impact throughout your day.

  4. J.I. Abbot says:

    Neha’s comment (hello there, by the way!) on zen mode tracks the same ground I was getting to when I was moved to write this. In Buddhist mindfulness-awareness practice — in the English hipster idiom of one or two communities, anyway — applying this pattern of mind to contemplative practice is called “minding the gap” (echoing the signs on buses / coaches in England).

    Now, what’s funny to me is another gap between descriptive and prescriptive ways of relating to this pattern of attending and drifting. On the meditation cushion, one is trained to track but not to judge the space-outs. However (in Tibetan tradition, anyway), to the degree that one’s wanderings and findings differ significantly from the shared epistemological space of humanity or, say, everyone on Route 6, one calls on various guardian angel-types to protect the shared reality.

    Sometimes the way we are minded by the community who shares in the minding is gentle, and sometimes it’s a little more, um, jarring.

    Distraction of this moment: I remember watching commercials for The Gap (company) when I was four or five and not understanding them.