Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week in Seven Words #338

All of the dancers are talented, but one in particular has presence. She creates a mesmerizing character, and even when she isn't moving, she commands attention.

When possible, I don't use a purse. I like a small colorful backpack, secured on both shoulders and well-stocked.

The theater is dark, and she's bored. Her phone casts a square of white light that irritates other people, but gives her a pleasant scroll through all the headlines and texts that have cropped up in the last hour.

With some of the dancers, the effort is obvious. They can't hide a straining muscle or how a limb struggles to extend. Beside them dance the ones who seem to need no effort.

I want to make her laugh, so I do a chicken dance and jazz hands.

They reach over the railing to pet the horse in the enclosure. A park ranger warns them off. "It bites," he says. They immediately back off. The horse remains still, revealing nothing.

Insects glide over the sand like silvery sci-fi drones.


Brian Joseph said...

"Distracted" has taken on new meaning in our new mobile age. I think that such distraction can be terrible. On the other hand, we now have a way to escape situations that are truly terribly boring,

Roderick Robinson said...

Re. distracted. It's frightfully (A peculiarly English qualifier you're unlikely ever to use; it may, in fact, be the first time I've ever used it.) kind of you to be so forgiving about the phone freak. But why did she come to the theatre in the first place? Had she instead sat on a bench in Central Park she would have granted herself uninterrupted communion with her machine and no risk of becoming bored. Had she remained in her apartment there would have been the further benison of being close to a charging point. The ultimate hermeticism. Incidentally do you still call them cell-phones? We still say "mobiles" and yet they actually discourage mobility, or, at least, turn the user's surroundings into irrelevancies.

Distracted used to be a euphemism for "mad". Given that we are more careful these days in our allusions to mental health I dug out my reasonably up-to-date dictionary to check the word. And lo! "archaic to drive someone to distraction: to drive (somebody) mad."

Now I wish I hadn't. I lived through a period when the phrase was in use. I too may be archaic. Think of me as a voice from the past.

Barbara Fisher said...

I was distracted in the cinema last week when a woman two rows in front of me spent the entire time looking at her phone! I wonder if it was the same woman. It sounds as though you had a (mostly) good week.

HKatz said...

@ Brian - There's definitely a need to judge when it's appropriate, not just in terms of rudeness but also prematurely deciding that something is boring and immediately using the phone to block it out. Also, boredom can be ok in some cases; your mind can go to interesting places during it.

@ Roderick - She came with friends to the theater; maybe they dragged her along. But yes, it was rude. As for the archaic use of distracted, I've come across the phrase "driven to distraction" too, in some older book(s) I don't remember. And here I've heard people refer to their phones as just "phones" or "smartphones" (now that you mention it, I haven't heard the word "cellphone" recently).

@ Barbara - No, unfortunately there's more than one of them (and some people use their phones to try making crappy recordings of the movie...)