I was sitting at lunch grabbing a burger while waiting for presciptions to be filled next door. Enduring a “Skeeter Burger” for lunch seemed better than making a separate whole trip to the pharmacy later on. So I was sitting there eating my little burger and my eyes were drawn to ESPN2, silent on the TV looming overhead. I don’t know why, but people stare at silent TVs, no matter what’s on them. I’ll give you my standard “TVs left on for the heck of it” rant another day.
ESPN2 appears to be reserved for the margins of human competition, like Speed Chess and Clogging contests. Today it was College Dance competition. Fresh-faced young coeds in painful synchronization. Without the sound turned up each team I saw appeared to be doing some kind of dry-land sychronized swimming. Only the outfits were not bathing suits but Clone outfits. First came the Brittney Spears Clones. Then it was a group of Lord of the Dance Clones. Followed by a black-clad Bob Fosse Clone group, complete with “Spirit Fingers” a la “Bring it On.” Each group conducted a staged interview with an ESPN2 correspondent, herself a former College Dancer I’m sure, sucking wind through the teeth of their forced smiles, trying to look like winners.
I asked myself why I was watching this. That was obvious. The teams’ outfits all had the same thing in common — they were calculatingly designed to draw attention to their, um, money makers. I am a male after all and will tend to look at spandex-wrapped females bouncing for judges, given not much else to occupy my brain.
And so why am I telling you this? Heck I don’t know. I’ll never get that fifteen minutes back. That little chunk of attention could have been better spent. Maybe I’m trying to redeem the experience by turning it into a writing exercise. Maybe I’m trying to waste a bit of your attention and throw it away after mine. Maybe I am just chagrined at how easy it is to spend a mindless 15 minutes, 15 hours, 15 years going through life on auto-pilot, attention jumping to each shiny bauble and bouncy bosom dangled in front of me.
Maybe I became aware of an attack. Subtle, calculated subterfuge of my mindful focus to woo my subconscious for some future commercial opportunity. Maybe what’s so scary is how such a wasted few moments is so commonplace as to escape notice. So commonplace that it seems kind of stupid even to bring up. Maybe it’s an awareness of costumes, contests, televisions, and restaraunts all arranged to distract me — an immense attention-sucking infrastucture so subtle and jejune I rarely notice my precious seconds ticking away. Maybe by becoming aware of this slippage I can stop it. Maybe I can warn you before it’s too late.
Nah. Bring on the dancing babes. I wonder if CSI is a rerun tonight?