Saturday, September 15, 2012


I keep all of my spare change in this sort of urn/vase thing on a small table next to my front door, and on occasion, when I can’t really find the motivation to do anything else, I’ll spill it all out on the floor, separate the different types of coins into discrete piles, and then proceed to methodically arrange them into neat stacks of even amounts and tally them all up.
The title of this post represents the current total.
I’ve been engaging in this particular ritual for a very long time, at least as far back as my time in college.
Of course, in years past it was less of a ritual and more of a necessity, as I scrambled to scrape together enough money to buy food, or cigarettes, or, more likely, a cheap bottle of vodka.
Still, even in those days it was something of a Zen-ish, mind-clearing, meditative activity, comparable, I suppose, to putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
There are any number of things I could have done – and could be doing – instead, but most of them, like this, involve a little more thought, and I’m not really interested in thinking today.
I mean, seriously; it’s gets to be exhausting after a while, and it’s clear that I spend all together too much time doing it.
The other day someone actually asked me, “Do you think while you’re sleeping?”

I didn’t know what to make of the question, or how to answer it.  Is this really the perception that people have of me, that I’m just some sort of relentless thinker?
If so…I suppose that I am.
Of course, the real question is whether or not that’s a bad thing.  As mentioned, it certainly is a tiring thing, but is it bad?
Certainly, in general, people seem to find it off-putting, or intimidating.
As I’ve been dealing more directly with my VP in the absence of the (former) boss, I’m finding that he’s sort of taken aback by the workings of my brain.
I don’t...think it’s a bad thing, but it’s not an entirely good thing, either.
Beyond that, there’s a perception, and a valid one, I can assure you, that too much thinking, if divorced from action, leads to indecisiveness.
It’s true; it can be exceedingly difficult to engage in decisive action when your brain just won’t stop considering and reconsidering options and possible outcomes.  It leads to a kind of mental paralysis as your brain is overwhelmed by its own activity.
That’s why I have so much difficult getting started with anything; when you see so many available paths laid out before you it becomes almost impossible to figure out which one to take.
(I think that plays into why I’m such a creature of habit; if I can make something become routine it becomes something I don’t have to think about.)
The other issue is that the petulant, insistent cry of “Pay attention to me!” that runs endlessly through my mind as each new idea runs through its cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, makes it difficult to focus on anything, particularly anything that isn’t happening inside of my head.
Of course, I assume it’s the same for anyone, and that I’m not somehow special.  If anything, I am, in many ways, deficient.  As much as I talk about how dumb and mindless everyone else is, the fact is I kind of envy their ability to navigate through the swirling chaos of thoughts and ideas much more successfully that I can, and to not fall overboard and drown in the conceptual ocean.
I particularly envy those people who are able to focus all of that thinking onto actually accomplishing something.
In answer to my own question about whether it’s a bad thing, I have to say…let me think about it.
Still, maybe I could use a little more mindlessness in my life.
At least fifty-five dollars and thirteen cents’ worth, anyway…

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