My mind has been employing itself in oddities lately. I go to perform a task, and suddenly I’m headed off on a weirdly curly think-tangent. I don’t know if the day-dreamy stuff is to do with having little sleep lately, or if I’m just getting some sort of chemical in my diet that tickles the brain’s hyper-drive.
What’s cool about it is, in these mindsets you tend to see and note connections, relatedness that might escape your notice otherwise.
But it makes it kind of hard to focus. Reading, the same sort of things happen. A passage or headline gets read differently, and I get all fascinated by the accidental meaning for a moment. For example, I was reading John Steinbeck’s ‘Once There Was a War’… the chapter about the cottage that wasn’t there, and came to this sentence:
“Across the path, a line of people were fishing in the Serpentine, sitting on rented chairs, fishing in water that was stirred with the oars of boats and kicking swans.”
That stopped me for a moment. It’s a rather laid back, satisfied picture: The fishermen setting out their lines, close enough together to chat. Resting on chairs as they wait for something to happen. And in that nonchalant, laid back way, they’re kicking swans.
The swans must be awfully thick underfoot, I decide. But still, it’s odd… in present day culture, kicking an animal certainly isn’t acceptable enough to mention, and you wouldn’t do it in a nonchalant sort of manner. “Oh yes, I just took it easy yesterday. Did a few crosswords, kicked a few dogs.”
My brain went through all these musings, got so far as wondering about the time and place John Steinbeck grew up in, and if there’s a peculiar swan-kicking tradition thereabouts before I actually took another look at the words, and my brain unscrambled the meaning- ie: that kicking swans were stirring the water, along with the boats’ oars.
But that wasn’t the best one. This headline showed up on the Yahoo Home Page yesterday:
I immediately clicked on it, mind teeming with immediate concern; for how I read the headline was that the cell phone was somehow stealing love.
How can a cell-phone do that? Is there some new technology that preys on human emotions? Does the cell phone intercept calls from loved ones, and carry on a robotic conversation, soaking up the good vibes while the thwarted callee is left with a busy tone? Or was it a less fantastical case, where a particular cell phone was simply taking up all the admiration and attention that its new owners formerly lavished on loved ones? Causing rifts in marriages perhaps, or leading to crimes of passion and new, technological love triangles.
All sorts of intriguing possibilities as I click on the title.
And I was a tad disappointed with the mundane story that followed. No, goofer, it’s a CELL PHONE that THIEVES love TO STEAL.
Not a cellphone that thieves on love.
But really, wouldn’t that be kind of a trip?