Thursday, June 17, 2010


I look both ways when I cross one-way streets. Today, when I caught myself doing it, I thought:

"Does this make me a walking illustration of the paranoid personality?"

But then, I thought again.

Hopefully, I told myself, it's a display of the actor's, fiction writer's, scientist's or mathematician's mind at work. Such minds wade through millions -- trillions -- of possibilities, as they make their personal sense of a character, theorem or other riddle. During that prep time, no possibility is out of the running.

When my children were little, if we were driving somewhere and someone swerved in front of us, I'd attempt to steer clear of road rage, and instead, put this question to the kids: Why would a driver do that?

I might start the ball rolling with something like: Somebody may have really scared him just now, and he thinks he's running for his life," or: "Maybe something very, very sad happened, and she isn't thinking straight." As for the kids, it's amazing what their unADULTerated minds could come up with.

Today, I realized that what I'd been thinking, right before I looked left and right, had gone something like this:

Couldn't there be an occasion when, driving, I might turn a corner, my thoughts ablaze, and then, horrified, realize that on a street I know so well, I had just turned the wrong way? I might then notice a woman strolling 2 inches from my bumper, a woman who had just looked only the other way.

Come to think of it, by a wide margin it's friends in the arts and sciences who report that they do not own a single TV set, in fact, never heard of a tenth of the shows that are into multiple years of being hits.

(I, on the other hand, have heard of them plenty -- studied up on them, in fact, then chosen a few. I use TV as the poor woman's theatre trip. Right from home, I can watch stage productions in their entirety on PBS, or, on the major networks, one venerable stage actor after another who has transished to a series on the small screen.)

But I think I understand those TV-free friends. They're entertained enough.

Maybe what many TV viewers are searching for during their off hours, in all those sitcoms, hospital dramas, police procedurals and reality series, is a version of the extravaganza that goes on in some minds, whether those minds are on or off duty.


  1. Great post! Yes, I'd like to think that's why I'm totally unaware of so many pop culture phenomena. Let's just say I'm too creative! One question: What DID the kids' unADULTerated minds come up with for that one?

  2. Dear FKIC, I remember unexpected answers and a lesson in the elasticity of the young mind, more than I can recall specific responses. Sorry.