I recently realized that I tune people out ninety five percent of the time. It's not that I mean to do so, it's just that it happens. I see their mouths moving, but all I hear is white noise. My mind has already turned to the book I am reading, the movie I want to see this weekend, and what wine pairs best with the Cap'n Crunch I am planning to eat for dinner.
For a long time I thought this was because of some inadequacy in my life. There had to be something medically or intellectually wrong with me for me to turn on the white noise as soon as I sense a boring subject coming on. So I tested myself. I would ask someone something I had always wondered about, like what exactly the NASDAQ has to do with the Dow Jones, and five syllables into their discourse I could feel my eyes glaze over and my thoughts drift to anything but stock markets. The flip side of this is that I am extremely good at seeming as if I am paying attention until it turns out that I have to make conversation on one of the talking points I missed while I was daydreaming about strawberry jam on pancakes. I have concluded that there is nothing wrong with me. It's simply the way I am wired. Things that will cause me to zone out include (but of course are not limited to) the following subjects.
Mumford and Sons. I realize that they are geniuses because of how they successfully use enough Godly euphemisms to convince conservative Christians to adore them, and then peppering their next song with so many F words that the Christian guy, singing along in his car, accidentally drops one himself while singing. He will then spend the next hour pondering the age old question of how salt water and spring water can flow from the same source. But the sheer horde of people on that bandwagon has successfully discouraged me from hopping on too. When I can successfully piece together all the lyrics of I Will Wait through the snippets my friends are quoting on Facebook, Twitter, and GTalk statuses in any given day, I know the madness has gone too far. Call me a snobby hipster, I don't care.
Edward Snowden and the CIA. Or the NSA. Whatever he was a contractor for. Contractors don't interest me. They are boring, wear shirts with pockets paired with extremely boring shoes, and hog more than their fair share of the Metro seat. This describes about 95 percent of men in the greater DC area, and they are all contractors. So I can't bring myself to care about this particular contractor. I am far more interested in his love affair with his pole dancing, selfie taking girlfriend who waxes lyrical about mermaids and pirates. The real question is how did a contractor end up with a pole dancer?
James Franco. Yes, he won acclaim for 127 Hours. My personal opinion is he fell into the role because he found out his face would be on the screen for what would seem to be 127 hours to the tired audience. He won acclaim for this one role, and now most of his celebrity seems to be based on what he could be doing, like going to an Ivy League school, kickstarting his own movies, or filming William Faulkner adaptations.
Which brings me to William Faulkner. I desperately wanted to like him. He has such a nice plummy name which rolls around in your mouth and as you spit it out it instantly makes you sound like such a well-read person. But his lack of punctuation and paragraphs meant that I found myself three quarters of the way through Light in August and had no idea what was going on.
Corn and ethanol. Apparently the one comes from the other, and might be able to power cars but people fight about it a lot. I lost all interest in corn at an early age. Growing up in Indiana meant I was surrounded by either corn or soybean fields at all times, and when I discovered that the farmers were wasting their time by growing corn that was never meant for my corn on the cob skewers, I quickly added this to my list of subjects which I tune out forever. I pray to God that no one ever finds a use for soybeans or my head might explode.
Law and Order spinoffs. I don't care if it's dedicated to special victims, Miami, or the Real Housewives, I seriously can't bring myself to care. I grew up watching the original story, and when they began to repeat themselves I quickly found something else to watch.
Google Glass. I know this is the wave of the future and I need to hop on now, but I'm already ADD enough and from what I understand this will only throw more distractions into my life which I will then have to try and tune out so I can actually be a productive member of society. Google, heed Steve Jobs' words of advice and stick to being the best search engine out there, please. And sue that one company, because I feel as if they really obviously copied you guys with that search engine which shall go nameless.
The Kardashians. I don't like them, I don't like their show, and I hate their makeup. I don't care what they named the child, and my only thought was one of pity that the kid has little to no chance of ever having a normal life. I give the kid thirty years before she publishes a tell all book and makes millions off of the people who don't tune out any mention of the Kardashians. If anything we should all be having a moment of mourning for another life going down the drain of celebrity whoredom.
John Boehner. If the story isn't about his secret life as an Oompa Loompa (which would explain his woeful ineptitude with the self-tanner), I could care less. This also holds true for Sarah Palin, Congress, and all the people with the last name of Paul who talk about politics on TV.
3-D Printers. I don't understand how they work, and why they are important. I'm sure they are, but it took twenty minutes of intense concentration for me to understand that the computer tells the printer what to make out of the sheet of plastic. Thank you, roommate, for all the Youtube videos you found. I'm sorry my attention span was only long enough for half a video.
Any sports playoff series except for baseball, unless the Giants or the Nationals did not make it to said playoffs and then baseball is dead to me as well. You can talk to me all you please about your Final Five or Superbowl, but my only thought will be one of annoyance since the Superbowl nearly always has the gall to land on or around my birthday.
But it's okay. Life is too short to go around pretending interest in things you know mean less to you than the point of a bell curve. You can keep your Kardashians, Mumford, and Googe Glasses. I'll stick with David Bowie and the peace of a happy life.