Friday, February 11, 2005

Escapism

Another sleepless night. I envy those people who have an extraordinary drive to work, and sit working through nights, while I stay awake in bed, staring numbly at the TV, watching the late-night show of Terminator 2: Judgement day for the nth time, hardly registering it.

I have seen people who are so absorbed in their work, that even remarks like, "Hey, remember that book of yours that you thought you lost, and were upset enough about it to get drunk that night? Well, I found it!" end up falling on deaf ears. I have seen these chaps sit hunched over their computers, ignoring people around them, ignoring their own hunger ( "Ah, finally solved the problem. Wow, am I
hungry! What's the time? Two? Damn, I missed lunch and dinner. Hey, why are my trousers wet? What's that smell?" ) and other bio-functions. I have even, on one occasion, seen a guy sit and work, unflinching, through a Backstreet Boys song.

Such people scare the hell out of me. They give me guilt complexes. They make me feel I am inefficient, lacking in concentration, and am a burden on the company I work for. I usually like to keep up an active chatter while working, and I think the habit became a little compulsive - I have been caught talking to my computer, and occasionally have been censured for "loud, offkey singing at work". The singing, apparently, has stopped ever since I joined the company I work for now. I guess it is difficult to sing "You are my sunshine" when the speakers are blaring, "Fortune, fame, mirror vain, gone insane," etc.

If you were to meet my english teacher back from school, she would say, "Senthil? Laziness. That has always been his problem. It's going to do him in, one day." And sometimes, when I lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling (the cable TV network conks off from time to time) and thinking about why my life is the way it is today, I eventually zero down on the above remark. Now, to be honest with you, though I would not call myself
lazy - that's too strong a word, I have noticed that I do have a substantial amount of inertia. I always needed superhuman effort to start a project. I believe the technical term is "getting down to it". That has always been my problem. When I was a kid, I remember sitting at the study table, staring at the homework, flicking my fountain-pen between my fingers, concentrating on a dog-ear on a page of the textbook, with one feeble part of my brain whispering insistently, "you will have to eventually get down to it, you know," while the stronger parts of the grey stuff were dwelling upon the latest episode of Johnny Sokko and the Flying Robot , till a sharp cry from my mother brought my astral projection slamming back into my body. Upon looking around for the source of her apprehension, I found the ink from my pen liberally sprayed over my homework, the table, my shirt, my face, and the facing wall, the droplets lying roughly in the plane of the flick. I had given an inadvertent demonstration of centrifugal force. The scene gave me a bit of a jolt, though I admit that my next reaction was to shift my point of concentration from the dog-ear on the page to the drops of ink splashed in almost a straight line over the book and the table. I thought it looked beautiful in a way, though my mother disagreed strongly.

That was another of my problems - concentration. I lacked the "mental anchor", to use another technical term. I was always drifting off, and found myself in the most awkward positions when the volume was suddenly turned up and I realized that either my mother or one of my teachers had been mouthing a question in my direction. In fact, even as I type, I realize that I have drifted off and have ended up projecting a contradictory image of the self. On the one hand, I am scared of people being absorbed in their work to the point of being impervious to external stimuli. On the other hand, I admit I have a problem drifting off. However, the astute reader may comprehend that there is a fine shade of difference between the two. While I do admit to being a little distracted in my childhood, it was
not at a time when I was working, or, more suitable to that period, studying. In fact, when I was actually studying, I was so in tune with my surroundings that I could hear a fly alight on some butter in the kitchen. No, the drifting off of mental faculties happened when I was trying to start studying.

So you can imagine my apprehension when I was having a beer with a friend of mine (who, incidentally, is one of the work-maketh-me-forget guys), and a friend of this chap joined us, and after the pleasantries had been exchanged, proceeded to ask us, "Do you sometimes feel like
not working?" Apparently he had been trying to work, but today was unlike any other day - he did not feel like working!

My friend admitted that yes, there have been occasions when he, too has felt the same.

They then turned to me.

I don't remember what I said. I had drifted off.



3 comments:

L . Hyena said...

Happened to visit yer spot by chance...and am NOT sorry (for a change)...keep on writing dude...

Senthil said...

@L.Hyena: Hey, thanks, man!

b.r said...

hey buddy,,,,onto ur soliloquising spree--u r at ur best again-----keep drifting off like u did that day when u were onto "the alchemist" n that crowded cmpartment which had its upper berth spacious enuf for ur not-so-bad gluteus maximus-----paulo coelho ve been more successful!!!!
do keep drifting!!!!