Friday, January 19, 2007

Nontasking as a Way of Life

A few weeks ago while I was in the coffee shop of a Borders in the Phoenix area, I spied a young woman who was--as people strangely say--very "connected." She was wearing her earbuds (for her iPod); she was on her cell phone; and she was making acoustic blasts aimed in the direction of someone at another table. She was not "multitasking." She was nontasking. (Listening to music is not a task anyway, is it?) How can one attend to a converation in this manner? This is the absent pressence, the here-and-away condition, the hungry zombie identity of so many so often: YouConnectedWorld.

Some things should not be multitasked, such as God and philosophy and conversations. Be there or be nowhere; but don't be there and not there. There.

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