📐 of the 🧠 
I’m traveling to St. Louis for work today. I’m actually writing this from the airport while I wait to board. This will mark the first business travel I’ve had since before the pandemic. I’m not fearful of flying. I’m not fearful of COVID-19 at this point. What I am legitimately fearful of is the idea of having to spend large amounts of time outside of my home and away from my family.
While I would never attempt to minimize the trauma and loss that COVID-19 has inflicted on human beings all over the world, I do think it is important to evaluate the other effects it has had on so many people and the shift in their day-to-day existence. My twins are now 4 years old; soon to be 5. They know nothing other than me being at home and heading into my home office to “work”. They know that they need to try and be quiet when I’m on calls. They know if the door is shut that I’m working. The look of shock they had when telling them I’d be away for a day and a half “for work” was heartbreaking.
The company I work for was planning to bring people back into the office in late 2021. Then in 2022 they changed course and embraced fully remote work as an option for the majority of the company’s workforce. I told my wife that had they not changed their mind, I’d be seeking a fully remote position with another company. I can’t go back. I can’t imagine not seeing the faces of my beautiful wife and my beautiful children as often as what this scenario affords me.
So… As I sit here at gate 110, without my wife and without my kids, I feel odd. I feel alone. I feel sad, but I know that in two days, I’ll be back where I belong, and for that, I’m eternally grateful for my life and the people I get to spend so much more time with in it.
1️⃣ Something I read…
On Pooping in the Dark-No Lights, No Phones, No Distractions
My two favorite quotes from a hilariously written article that made me think:
Smartphones only make things harder, threatening bowel, rectal, and mental health, along with hygiene. Phone users tend to spend more time on the toilet, increasing their odds of developing hemorrhoids and other gastrointestinal ailments.
Browning in blackness brings ethereal gifts. I am one with the early Homo sapiens who shat in the field by starlight, and with my pre-industrial ancestors who made midnight mud pies between first and second sleep, having nothing to ponder but the majesty of the task at hand.
This feels like it should be one of my monthly Year Without challenges. What month feels the most “brown”?
2️⃣ Something I read…
The Pathologies of the Attention Economy
My attention is still on attention... apparently. This is a longer read, with links to other books/articles on the topic, but it's a good one. The quote that I highlighted and have been pondering was this one from Jonthan Crary (as quoted by the author of the linked article):
...it is possible to see one crucial aspect of modernity as an ongoing crisis of attentiveness, in which the changing configurations of capitalism continually push attention to new limits and thresholds, with an endless sequence of new products, sources of stimulation, and streams of information, and then respond with new methods of managing and regulating perception.
3️⃣ Something I read…
Our Attention Spans Are Being Stolen
This is an interview with author Johannn Hari. His book, Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention, is in my “to read” list. The article frames the linkage between our systematic loss of attention to the lack of focus on the climate crisis. I'm not expert on the latter, but will argue that in my view, the stealing of our collective focus is causing many more critical worldly issues to not get the attention they deserve. The main driver is ultimately capitalism (attention = dollars to the companies working to steal your focus). Capitalism is a huge driver in the climate crisis, with our disposable (or non-disposable) income being focused on increasingly disposable goods.
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Angles Outside 180 📐
This section is only for the folks that scroll to the bottom of a newsletter the way true fans sit to the end of the credits in a movie hoping for a little more…
- This newsletter was intended to go out on Monday of last week, however, the work travel and catching up on home life when I returned delayed it by a week. Issue 013 should come out on the original schedule in about a week (or less).
- I realized during proofreading that I embedded another “fun with words” game in my comments for item 3️⃣
- The back catalog is still in “almost done” status. I realized while re-building the newsletters from the now defunct Revue, I needed to have a creation flow that makes publishing the email version and creating the web hosted version a bit smoother. Having several back issues to recreate actually helps smoothing the rough edges of that process, but it has taken some additional time.
- The next issue will be a “themed” one on the topic of typewriters.