And how did you spend YOUR morning? (A Nightmare, revised)

I had good intentions.

Yes, and now you’re halfway down the road to hell.

I just wanted to check one thing!

That’s how it starts. And what was so important it couldn’t wait till after you’d worked on your article?

I just wanted to figure out which zany blogger had said she wanted to “pull a Thomas Pynchon,” or was it “do a Thomas Pynchon”? Anyone who used a phrase like that, I wanted to know better.

So, you sacrificed your work to your social life, did you? In fact, to the possibility of an on-line, a virtual relationship—You read her blog, she reads your blog–or not. Touching. And what would it mean, anyway, to—how did you put it?—to“pull a Thomas Pynchon?” Who is he, anyway?

He’s a famous writer—

I never heard of him.

Yes, well. Anyway, he’s also famous for being invisible. He not only never holds an interview, but he actually disappeared years ago. No one knows where he lives. So to “pull a Thomas Pynchon—“

Yes, I understand.

So it took a while, but I found who said it; it’s Jane Perrone, who writes the Horticultural blog, amongst other gardening stuff.

Do go on.

Well, once I’d tracked it down, I had to explore the site at least a little, and since I have compost issues–

Please, spare me the compost issues.

Okay, but you should consider it a temporary respite.

Thank you. You were saying?

I read the composting excerpt from her book, The Allotment Keeper’s Handbook.

Allotment. Allotment?

Yes, well for all you know-nothing State-side ethnocentric rotters out there, an allotment is the UK version of a plot in a community garden.

Ah. So you read the excerpt. How was it?

It’s good. Now I want to buy the book!

Of course you do. What did you do next in this—productive morning of yours?

Well, the excerpt mentions Garden Organic, so I clicked on that link.

Right. It had the word “organic” in it, didn’t it? What could be more natural?

They’re a charitable organic organization—

A what?

Exactly. It turns out to mean that they sponsor research and organic development in third-world countries.

Oh dear. You were hooked, weren’t you.

I was hooked. My African friends in agricultural sciences want to know more about organic methods. I joined on the spot—

“The spot” taking what, about 15 minutes, half an hour?

Maybe fifteen minutes. It wasn’t too bad. And then I—

Excuse me—no tangents, please.


Now, now. Stay focused. Your morning. Where were we? Ah, yes—paying for membership in Garden Organic. Don’t we feel virtuous. What happened next?

Well, I looked around at their international activities, which included working with prosopis, which I’d never heard of, so I had to look that up.

Of course you did. And what exactly is it? No—don’t tell me. What did you do next?

Um—nothing. Wrote this.

And what time is it now?

Almost one.

Hmm. So, you spent your morning following an obscure literary reference for no reason and then clicking on every possible link to every possible organic site that happened to pop up on your computer screen and doing no article editing whatsoever, have I got that right?

I blame Jane Perrone, for being well-read.

6 Responses to And how did you spend YOUR morning? (A Nightmare, revised)

  1. Fabulous stuff…thank-you

  2. Very good.
    I think we are all guilty of having days when we forget what we went on line for and several hours later have all sorts of information that we didn’t know we needed. Well – I am guilty of it at any rate!

  3. I do this daily ;)

  4. I think that there’s a different space/time thing going on with the internet. I’m sure I only spend half an hour or so online then somehow it’s three hours later…

  5. That’s it, Amanda! It’s a warp in the space/time continuum, I’m sure of it.
    James, Karen–thanks. And Karen–don’t you agree that sometimes it turns out that you _did_ need that info? (Not always, of course; in fact not usually, but sometimes…)
    Amy, if I do find a good twelve-step program for internet addicts, maybe we can go together.

  6. Now I feel a little guilty for eating your time. Your revenge? Now your blog eats some of my time!
    I can’t recommend Thomas Pynchon as a good read if you are worried about losing precious minutes or hours of your life, either.
    No, but if you want to get lost in someone else’s world for a while, he certainly does the trick. As does Neil Stephenson, who is not nearly as abstruse. (I suppose some Pynchon fans would cold-cock me for mentioning Stephenson in the same paragraph as their icon/hero, but we have an ocean and most of a continent between us, so I feel fairly safe.) I love Cryptonomicon, not to mention the Baroque trilogy.
    Revenge is sweet. Blog on!

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