You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams

Location: Kentucky, United States

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Information Addiction

My throat is so sore today I can barely talk. I try to keep my conversation to as few words as possible to avoid the pain. I am reminded that Ghandi devoted one day a week to silence. I have always been attracted to the idea, but have never tried to put it into practice. Today it is forced upon me and it has made me think.

I need mind rest, a settling of ideas. Like sediment suspended in a cacophony of white noise, I have no place to think: to clarify the noise in my head. On rising, before I am fully awake the 24- hour news is on to force the mind to work, a ladder to climb up from the sleep deprivation that drives my workweek. Then into the bathroom where I read magazines until I am awake enough to shower. The drive to work is NPR with the BBC telling of the cricket scores in Europe. At work, I read my growing list of bloggers and news sites that are appropriate to the stories of the day. I surf the web while I am on hold on the telephone. I read while I eat. More news on the radio on the ride home. It goes on like this until bedtime where I read myself to sleep.

I picture myself getting out of the car at work. Twenty-three years of footsteps hit the ground at once. All of us, all of me walk across the parking lot together divided by the seconds or minutes where I have walked this same path day after day. Through the grass, across the heli-pad, one step on grass then pavement to the ambulance entrance. We push the call light in near unison and say together, “It's Timmy” in a voice like a crowded stadium swelling to a roar. Over and over, the days laid out as a path that ends in the unknown, a place where hope is afraid to look.

Over stimulated, and sleep deprived, the shower is the only place were the noise of information is silenced. It is there that ideas open like flower buds seeking sunlight. Thoughts that have been fermenting in my subconscious break through to the surface, ripple across my mind and are gone.

I know the answer to this is to set aside quite time, time to be still and listen. But I am addicted to the stimulus. If it were possible, I would wear glasses with tiny screens. One lens showing FOX news and MSNBC, the other a broadband link to the web continually surfing, riding the surge of information till I am crispy inside, immune to feeling, callused yet gratefully numb.


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