I brush my teeth for exactly two minutes, twice a day (thanks to my electric toothbrush that tells me when to stop). That’s only four minutes a day but for some reason I can’t just stand there and brush. Standing in my bathroom and only focusing on one thing for two minutes doesn’t sound daunting but for some reason I just can’t do it.
So what do I do? I grab my phone (that’s already playing music because I can’t shower/brush my teeth without that) and start awkwardly scrolling through Hacker News or some other site so I can fill the two minutes of white space that I can’t stand to have. Most of the time I’m scrolling and pinching with my pinkie, which is completely inefficient but it has to work. I need to be entertained for that short amount of time, I need to learn something, I need to be distracted. I can’t be the only one who does this, right?
I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, I actually enjoy catching up on some news while fighting plaque and the bacteria that causes Gingivitis. But I do think it’s interesting how my mind works now that I know I have instant access to unlimited entertainment and information.
I guess this is the end of the white space in our lives as we know it. No more waiting in line and staring into space. No more awkward moments with groups of people we don’t really know. No more standing at a street corner watching the seconds tick down before you can cross. No more spending time while only brushing your teeth.
I can remember not too long ago when I needed to set aside time to find information or to be entertained. I would need to sit at a computer, in front of a TV or go to the library to check out a book (gasp!). Now I need to set time aside to do nothing and just let my mind wander without any interruption. It’s not easy and I don’t see it getting easier any time soon.
cartoon credit: Shaaark.com