Mental Masturbation

Okay. I admit it. I have a problem.

I have to be mentally stimulated all the time. I can’t just watch TV…I have to be on the internet or reading at the same time. I can’t just work on one project, but must check the news, weather, or even map something in a different window. I can’t even finish a long email (or blog) without getting distracted and pulling up something else to read or watch. My brain is the proverbial 13-year-old boy who can’t keep his hands out of his pants.

Maybe I should blame the internet. Before the internet, I could sit and stare at the wall to just “veg out.” If I had any less brain activity in those days, I’d have been in a coma. I couldn’t be bothered to read for class because doing nothing was so much more fun. I could do it for hours.

Maybe I should blame TV? Years ago, I could just watch TV and be enthralled in this or that…for hours. Honestly, what on TV is that enthralling anymore? Housewives fighting about fighting? Or “journalists” complaining about celebrities who are only out for attention…which they are happy to give them?

Maybe I should blame college. God knows that working full-time and taking a full course load is busy enough. Add to that all the responsibilities of adult life and long commutes, and you have a recipe for mental burnout. I adapted by becoming a non-stop brain-a-thon, surviving on 3 to 4 hours of sleep and soaking up readings and research at most other times.

So here I sit, blogging while also checking Flickr, Facebook, and email. I’m also watching something on the Discovery Channel that happened to catch my attention…but only because it was a compilation of smaller stories with lots of tidbits and visual stimulation. Shortly I’ll take a break by checking the weather and news. I’ll change the channel in a bit, while reading IMDb about someone I just saw on TV or in the news. Then I’ll pull up Google Maps to look at aerial photos of my next hiking adventure in the area Then I’ll finally settle on another TV show, and return to my Flickr, email, Facebook routine, until I get curious about that empty lot I pass on the way from work. I’ll have to pull up the Google map as well as the county “land use” website to see what’s going there. Then I’ll research the future business and maybe see if the local paper has anything. That will open up a new can of worms if there’s a headline that gets my attention, because I’ll have to leave that site to find a REAL news story on the subject, just as I have to grab the remote to turn down the volume for commercials, although one gets my attention and I have to pull up that website as well…

It really never ends.

Many will tell you that my brain stores all these tidbits somewhere, because they come back anytime someone mentions a store, the weather, the news, or anything on the map for northern New Castle County. I can tell you when houses were built that I pass on the way home. I can even give you my best guesses for when the roads were built based on local history I read long ago. Maybe this could explain why my head is always hot…and steams in winter. I think I’ll go research that now, but I need to change the channel, check Facebook, then check the weather online first because the Google map for my next hike makes it look like it could be muddy if it rains. Wait, maybe there are photos on Flickr for that trail, but I’ll have to check my comments first. But that’ll have to wait, though, since I have to check Wikipedia for something I just saw on Discovery…

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