Concentration: It’s not my forte

This morning I nearly crashed my car on the way to work. It’d been a difficult, up-and-down night with the kids, but that wasn’t the reason why I was distracted. The fact is, I was reminiscing about late-90s Irish girl band B*witched, and that caused me to forget what I was doing and nearly mow down some hapless passers-by.

I suppose you could argue that had something disastrous occurred, hey, at least I’d have been able to give a clear account of events leading up to it. Still, I doubt grieving families would have taken much comfort in me saying “I was just thinking about that weird bit towards the end of C’est la vie, where they all do an Irish jig and start coming out with totally out-of-context quips such as “what are you loik?”, and it’s that which led me to take my eyes off the road”. In such a situation, said grieving families would probably prefer me to have been drunk.

The truth is, concentration is not my forte (I write that, and straight away I’m thinking about defunct 80s hotel chain Trusthouse Forte and trying to remember which company bought them. See, that’s just how bad I am). I thought that having a blog would help with this. Rather than letting my mind wander all the time, I’d write things here and – boom! – they’d be gone. But in actual fact, it’s got worse. I can’t write down anything without thinking of a million other things I simply have to write about. I’ve even set up a draft post called “Ideas” where I note down said items as and when they come. I’m terrified that one day I’ll accidentally publish it and anyone who reads it will think I’ve gone completely mad (actually, they probably won’t. They’ll no doubt just assume it’s the contents listing from that one time a wannabe radical feminist was guest editor of Take a Break).

As a linguist I sometimes go to seminars on language acquisition. Whenever I’m concentrating (and not, say, trying to decide whether I want mushy peas or tinned sweetcorn with my tea) I get to see scans of brains in development as children learn to speak. These illustrate all the different connections that are created, many of which will be in place for life. There are things called synapses and, while I don’t know precisely what they are because I was looking out of the window at some builders and a black and white cat during the explanation bit, I get the impression that mine must be all over the shop. All over the shop, that is, where I’m buying my sweetcorn later. No, actually, make that peas.

Anyhow, where was I? Me and concentration. Not good. And now, not only am I meant to go back and concentrate on work for the rest of the afternoon, I have to do so while being totally torn between whether my next post should be on the demise of Trusthouse Forte or the trial of Norwegian murderer Anders Behring Breivik. It’s really hard being me. I think.

Well, I’ve said my piece. Do you think there’s a pun you could make with that and the word “peace”? Probably not. But still, people often make puns with “peas” and “peace” . Mushy peace? Does that work? <wanders off babbling contentedly>

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