What Kind Of Thinker Are You?

 

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about thinking a lot and the different ways people use their brains, or don’t use them.

I recently wrote a post about the subject at Huffington Post and would like to expand upon it here.

As an “outside the lines” thinker, I’ve been listening to this thought rattle around in my head:

Can a “within the lines” thinker let his mind wander beyond the perimeter outside conventional thought?

Specifically speaking, can a rigid-thinking mathematician who values the orderly nature of numbers use his thoughts as a flotation device? — In one-tenth percent of a moment, can he disavow digits and embrace escape?

I think Mr. Numbers can if he’d be willing to take his thoughts out for a spin on the far side — a magical place to visit whenever life broadsides your brain.

Just two words can take you there: “What if?” A game writers love to play.

“What if my house is really a spaceship that landed in my yard while I was asleep in a coma tube?”

“What if the universe is really a diorama in an alien museum?”

Try to prove or disprove that theory my “within the lines” thinking friend.

Perhaps, rigid thinkers, like Mr. Numbers, are a necessity for those of us who landed on Earth in a coma tube. We need practical thinkers to counteract wily thinkers like us.

Rigid types create structure that prevents wily thought travelers from disappearing into a virtual vortex of vex.

Perhaps, one structural creation device is a pharma helper called Concerta for attention drifters whose thought migration patterns follow the sparkles in shiny things.

As an attention drifter myself, Concerta helps me travel round trip from left-brain to right. Now when I clock in at work, my mind clocks in, too. Concerta keeps my thoughts on a leash inside the perimeter in which I sit. If I’m not busy, I find work to occupy my time to prevent my thoughts from taking a sudden trip to Imagination Island.

Mr. Numbers has a problem that’s 180-degrees from mine. He’s a “within the lines thinker” and could benefit from a pharma helper with a psychedelic twist. Not that I condone taking “under the counter” drugs. I don’t. In many cases, even “over the counter” drugs aren’t the best way to fix an anomaly in the brain.

Let’s take the natural route, instead, and ask Mr. Numbers to try meditating once a day without clutching his calculator.

I only use a calculator when adding or subtracting, which consumes most of the focus in my focus meds.

By the time I get home, my mind is in a hibernation state. All I’m capable of is staring at the brain-suck box in my living room. It whites out lingering dark figures that prowl the corridors in my head searching for answers to sum up their existence.

I wonder if things ever add up for them.

What sums up the kind of thinker you are?

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of Concerta. I am no fan of pharmaceutical ads and their side-effect warnings — especially, the latest ad on Shingles that shows gruesome pictures without a warning beforehand of the PTSD side effects of viewing red oozing back sores. Somebody please get Shingle ads off my TV.

Do You Feel Like You’re Blogging In An Evening Gown?

That’s how it feels when I write a post on WordPress. I need to put on an evening gown to write, unlike Blogger, which has a casual dress code.

English: Geraldine Farrar in evening gown

English: Geraldine Farrar in evening gown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In September Ron, head writer of the fabulous blog Being Ron, wrote a post asking which blogging platform we preferred WordPress or Blogger?

I responded with this comment:

If I could do it all over again, I probably would have stuck with Blogger. For some reason, I had more fun when I had a Blogger blog. I think upgrading to a “professional” site has taken the fun out of blogging. It’s more formal. It’s like typing in an evening gown. I’d rather write in jeans…I miss Blogger. I upgraded my site for my writing platform. But, what’s the point of upgrading for your writing if you end up writing less?

I then told Ron that I would eventually write a post about the subject, citing him as my inspiration.

Well, I did write that post and called it Blogging In An Evening Gown. It was published yesterday at Huffington Post.

Thank you for starting the conversation, Ron.

Since upgrading my blog to WordPress, I’ve had to deal with many technical issues that were far above my pay grade. I’ve spent hours searching for answers online that I never found. Finally, I hired a tech-savvy avatar to fix all the problems that pissed off Google — who gave me a timeout.

For writers who blog, it’s difficult enough switching between writing in the sky and writing on earth. (It’s a different mindset.) Add tech issues to the mix and blogging/writing becomes toxic. That’s why I stopped messing with stuff in the dashboard I should have left alone. — I was ground zero. — I am my own worst enemy in the sky and on earth.

Shortly after being released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), I learned how to achieve a fragile balance between blogging and writing. The result: I blog less but write more. It was the only way I could remain almost sane.

Thank you for reading the words of a somewhat sane madwoman.

I hope you’ll stop by Huffington Post and read my post that was inspired by Ron. And please stop by Ron’s place for some great stories and photos.

 

Office Deja Vu: A Shoeless Tuesday Ago

 

A flash of memory pops into my head, illuminating a moment I try to forget.

Sounds of summer in the office: copiers chirping, papers flapping in the breeze and the intoxicating scent of Wite-Out — always helps me through the day. I need my Wite-Out fix to escape V.P. sales hysteria, the cause of office chaos.

Six sales people, each with their own personality quirks, try to burst into my office every day of the week. They try, because I keep the door locked.

On the other side of my door, the sales staff wanders in a fog. I am the traffic controller, the manager of the office. On most days, they can’t function without direction from me.

While their heads bobble on their shoulders outside my door, I work on an excuse for locking my door today. Luckily, my silence is interpreted as hyperfocus. I know this because they yell when they talk.

SALES GUY 1
What’s Lauren doing in there?

SALES GUY 2
Hyper-focusing. She’s swamped.

I laugh. I’m playing FreeCell. But the jokes on me because I’m stuck. I study the screen, eyes glazed like a donut.

My problem-solving process ends abruptly at the shrill ring of the phone. I awaken from my FreeCell coma, hand shaking as I answer the phone.

ME
Hello.

MOIRA
Lauren, is that you?

ME
Who else would it be? This is my extension.

MOIRA
Oh, good.

ME
Why are you whispering? This is Moira, right?

MOIRA
Yes. I don’t want anyone to hear me. I’m in my car.

ME
Are the windows open?

MOIRA
No.

ME
Then how can anyone hear you?

MOIRA
No, no…It’s more of…if anyone can hear YOU talking to me.

ME
They’re yelling out there. I’m in my office with the door locked.

MOIRA
What are they yelling about?

ME
The usual — holes in pages in the magazine. Lou’s yelling about the lack of ads. It’s hell out there.

MOIRA
I’ve got problems, too.

ME
Where are you calling from?

MOIRA
The garage. I’m downstairs in the garage.

Scratching head.

ME
Why don’t you park and come upstairs?

MOIRA
I can’t!

ME
Why?

MOIRA
It’s embarrassing.

ME
Moira, please tell me. I think ten calls just went into voice mail.

MOIRA
Uh, well…The thing is…I drove to work without my shoes.

ME
I think we have a bad connection. Did you say you drove to work without your shoes?

MOIRA
Yes.

ME
How is that possible?

MOIRA
I always drive barefoot and keep a spare pair of shoes in the car. I must have left the spare at home.

ME
Jesus. It’s not like keeping a pair of bowling shoes in your car, though it would have solved your problem.

MOIRA
Christ, Lauren. I don’t bowl. It’s also why I don’t type — fingernail polish. Let’s move on. Do you have an extra pair of shoes?

ME
WTF? No. I don’t even have a pair of rain boots. We’re in the middle of a drought. I’ll check the shoe vending machine.

MOIRA
Thank God, there’s a shoe vending machine.

ME
Moira, I’m kidding. Though I’d be happy to get you a bag of chips. Hey, maybe you can eat the chips and use the empty bags as shoes.

Momentary silence. Moira likely deep in thought.

MOIRA
Sounds too messy.

ME
Maybe I can get two garbage bags from the cafe upstairs.

MOIRA
I’m not walking around with garbage bags on my feet. That’s too weird.

ME
And not having shoes isn’t?

MOIRA
Please don’t judge me. I’m having an anxiety attack.

ME
Do you have a paper bag? Put it over your head and breathe slowly. If you have two, you can use them as shoes.

MOIRA
You know how I feel about bags. I’m calming down. You obviously can’t help me. Thanks for trying. I’ll just go to the drug store and get a pair of flip-flops. No one will recognize me if I’m wearing sunglasses and a hat.

ME
Good luck! Are you coming back?

MOIRA
No, I can’t attend a meeting in flip-flops. I’ll call Lou from home.

Click

Back to FreeCell.

 

The Doctor App – Just Say, “Ah,” and Fog Up Your Phone

Our healthcare system showed signs of dementia last week when BlueCross BlueShield launched the LiveHealth Online App — when you can’t get an appointment with your local doctor.

Just download the app from the iTunes App or Google Play store and get a live video chat with a tiny flat screen doctor from Walla Walla, Washington or other places you usually don’t go.

Yes, you can have an intimate doctor-patient chat with an avatar in a white coat for virtually the same cost (or lower) of visiting your doctor on earth. Because healthcare isn’t impersonal enough.

On Wednesday, I answered the phone and spoke to a Stepford robo-caller from Blue Cross Blue Shield. She was more animated than the usual telemarketing robot, and chatty, too.

In fact, she wouldn’t shut up. “Blah, blah, blah. LiveHealth Online is a new covered benefit of Empire BlueCross BlueShield…No waiting. No people coughing at you…like in the waiting room of a real doctor’s office.”

I hate getting sprayed in the face with a gaggle of germs.

More blah, blah, blah and robo-call gal said, “…. And the first 500 people that sign up get a free Amazon Gift Card.”

Sign me up Scotty or is that beam me up?

I suppose a Smartphone doctor would be less creepy than the doctor my medical group schedules you with when the other doctors aren’t available. During my last physical with him, when he asked if I needed him to do a breast exam, I said, “If you want to.”

AWKWARD!!!!

At that moment, I would have preferred to see his face smushed against a screen.

I don’t think teledoctoring is a state-of-the-art service. It’s more of a state-of-a-broken healthcare system, an insurers creative attempt to cut back services in a shiny new way.

I mean really. What can be accomplished with a virtual face-to-face appointment without a stethoscope? How do you give a urine sample?

What if your appointment is for an ear problem and the connection drops? Your “I can’t hear you, Doctor” may be misinterpreted as an ear blockage. Then you’ll have to fly out to Walla Walla, Washington for the doctor to shove a light in your ear.

It’s hard to get a good shot of an ear with an iPhone. Getting a flattering selfie is challenging enough.

And how does a Smartphone doctor get a throat culture for Strep? Do you lick the screen?

As BlueCross touts ”…the telehealth service is…a two-way, face-to-face video chat with a doctor who can both diagnose and treat them, along with their family members for non-emergency conditions such as the flu, cold, strep throat and ear infections.” – HealthTechZone

You know how I feel about ear problems.

Frankly, I think BlueCross BlueShield should have their head examined. Just hold the phone over your head and snap a picture. My telediagnosis — shit for brains.

What do you think about the new telehealth service?

When you get a moment, please check out my latest piece at HuffPost/50, “How to Say Goodbye to Summer.”

Related articles

Why I hate promoting myself

In all the years I’ve been blogging — roughly 4 1/2 — I’ve never been comfortable promoting myself. And here I am about to embark on a mission to promote my latest blog post at Huffington Post, an achievement I’m quite proud of.

Scared!

Scared! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fear of posting on such a high-profile site was paralyzing at times. I can’t remember the number of revisions I made, or how many times I hesitated to click “submit” to the editors. When I was finally able to push past the fear and submit a blog post, the anguish of not feeling HuffPost worthy scratched at my brain. Perhaps that is why I didn’t write a blog post here the first time I was published on Huffington Post. Sure, I could have squeezed one out, but I didn’t.

Yet, I managed to puff my chest on Facebook because I was among friends, and friends of friends. Of course, you are my friends, too. I love all of you and am grateful you keep coming back to read my thoughts on cyberspace paper, in an extrasensory sort of way.

Writing a blog post takes a lot more effort these days. I’ve got achy breaky hands from typing, and my focus has been fuzzy at best — which I blame on summer head. I guess I can’t use summer head as an excuse much longer. Maybe the warm weather will find its way into fall. I can only hope.

As I can only hope you will forgive this awkward attempt at self promotion and help exacerbate my feelings of inadequacy by commenting and tweeting and liking (or not) my post at Huffington Post … Oh, insecurity, how I loathe thee and your vile cursed ways of making blogging so damn hard.

Thanks. Peace out.

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