If you have ever been a teacher it won’t be news to you that attention spans are getting shorter - and it’s not just the kids, it’s all of us. Entertainment and advertising have to be delivered at high speed in tiny fragments, so consumers don’t drift off to watch something that moves faster. Curators of museums need to condense their presentations into the shortest possible time span - ten thousand years of history in five minutes. Some radio stations – but not this one – make it a policy never to play more than seven or eight minutes of music without a break.
It may be simply my age, but it seems to me that the springs of literary creativity are running dry. Searching the library, the TV schedule, and the latest movie offerings gives me an overwhelming feeling of what Yogi Berra famously called Déja Vu All Over Again. Nobody seems to have a new idea.
When the sun begins to peek out, however reluctantly, and the temperature crawls up to a tolerable level I always have the irrational feeling that I should be more active instead of spending my days reading and writing and feeding cats. A lot of senior citizens in search of eternal youth are fiendishly active these days. They go to the gym or the swimming pool every day, or run ten miles at dawn or do Tai Chi or Kung Fu or Pilates (whatever it is) or Jazzercise or one of the other tortures invented for the elderly.
Our car was recalled by the manufacturer recently. It wasn’t one of those controversial recalls you’ve been reading about, but just a small repair to the braking system. The car is not that old but, like its owner, it has reached the stage where occasional visits to the repair shop are necessary.
Last week we drove out along the North Fork of Long Island, just to see if it was still there. You can never be sure that any landscape survives long here, given the pace of development, so it’s best to check at regular intervals.