Got distracted by distraction

This week’s column is a meta column. It’s barely a column, a jumble of words cobbled together on the topic of distraction while I was busy being distracted.  I’ve spent three hours in this document tonight, writing a deleting the same three paragraphs trying to say the same thing: I’m distracted. But each time I got a sentence down, I bounced over to one of the other tabs I have open in order to perform the work I’m really interested in right now: finding a perfect pair of blue suede shoes, because I want some. So I’ll adjust the search terms, go again, scroll, scroll, scroll, and then remember — I’m meant to be writing a column! I return to this doc, re-read what I’ve written, delete it, start it all over again. 

What I was trying to say, in those deleted words, is that I didn’t write a column because I was too busy being distracted to take a pause and think about the distraction, consider it, write about it. I’m in the thick of it. My brain is racing a million miles a minute. I’ve got ten tabs open — blue shoes, blue heels, blue mules. And this is just tonight’s diversion. I’ve been this way for weeks, searching for the perfect everything, for others, for myself. 

“I’m going to give up on this column,” I just said to Matt, who is reclined on the couch reading a novel. “I’ve got nothing. Anyway, I’ve done 19 of these. Next week I will do another and it will be 20.” 

“So you only have another 32 to go until you meet your promise of doing a full year’s worth,” he said. 

“Right,” I said. “But 20 is a good round number, so let’s just make next week’s the last of the year and skip this week. It’s really rubbish.”

“I have four more pages in this chapter,”  he said. “Why don’t you write for four more pages worth, and then decide.” 

As he said this I was 14 pages deep into an ebay search for periwinkle suede pumps. 

And so I transcribed our conversation, words on a page, a start. He finished his chapter. He asked to read what I had so far, read it. Laughed a bit. 

Him: “Twenty minutes more and I think you’ll have a column worth sending.” 

Me: “I don’t understand why you’re so keen to have me finish this. You’ll have to do the art, while now you’re off the hook.” 

Him: “I want you to finish it because I want you to prove to yourself that you’re capable of concentrating, and that’s the whole bloody point of you doing this column in the first place.” 

Perhaps this is too much information about my relationship, but this is the dynamic of my relationship, one dynamic of my relationship. Matt helps me do things I want to do but have a very difficult time doing: getting out of bed, cooking good food, writing. In turn, I help him do things he wants to do and has a difficult time doing: relaxing, living in the moment, treating himself kindly. 

I did indeed tell him, “I want to write a newsletter for a year.” At first I said, “Every week for a year,” but almost immediately took that back, said, “A year’s worth, most weeks.” So far I’ve only skipped Thanksgiving week, though I’ve tried to skip many more. “You made a commitment,” is Matt’s response to me when I say, “Oh I thought I’d skip this week.” I counter with, “But no one knows I made the commitment!” And he says, “But you know it, Logan.”

And now you do, too. Twenty emails in 2019, 32 in 2020. 

Have a wonderful holiday break, whatever you’re celebrating, and I hope to see you in January. 


Watercolor by Matt Davis

Referenced 

The Raj Quartet, by Paul Scott. The novel Matt’s reading; he says it’s “bloody good.” 

The blue suede shoe that started tonight’s quest (it’s sold out in my size)