On Not Being Present

Be Aware, Listening and Engaged words on papers pinned to a bullBeing present means having your focus, your attention, and your thoughts and feelings all fixed on the task at hand or the person/people you’re with. Being present requires you to pay attention, to be actively listening to those with whom you are having a dialogue, and to be fully engaged with whatever you’re doing.

Yeah, so what, you ask? Well, I’ve noticed lately that I often am not present. Yes, I’m physically present, but I’m not always aware, listening, or engaged in what I am supposed to be doing.

Like right now while my wife is preparing tonight’s dinner and asked me to keep her company. But I’m not really present, not really paying attention to what she’s saying. What am I doing? I’m writing this post and periodically nodding my head and throwing in an occasional “uh huh” for good measure.

Fortunately, my wife is as bad as I am. She’s always on Twitter in order to get the most up-to-date tweets from others who are also constantly on Twitter. I typically have to say something to her two or three times before she’ll actually look up from her smartphone.

When watching TV, be it a drama, a comedy, or the news, I find myself focusing more on what’s on my iPhone’s screen — my news feed, text messages, the WordPress Reader, and even composing new posts — than on what is playing on the TV.

When my family and I are out to dinner, all four of us are looking at our smartphones more than we are interacting with one another. I do turn off my phone when I go to a movie, but it’s the last thing I look at before the movie starts and I turn it on as soon as the movie’s over to see if I missed anything.

I even look at my iPhone while walking the dog! And yes, while sitting on the toilet doing my bizness.

So I really need to start being more present than I’ve been recently. I need to fight this addiction before it takes over completely.

Just as soon as I check the latest baseball scores on my sports app.

#FOWC — I Hate Spunk

8B8BDF51-C848-4A90-A1CB-0C389156E719Do you remember that scene in the Mary Tyler Moore Show when Lou Grant, played by Ed Asher, says to Mary Richards, played by Mary Tyler Moore, “You know what? You’ve got spunk.”

Mary smiles and stammers and says, “Well, yes,” thinking that what her boss said to her was meant to be a compliment.

Until he says, “I hate spunk.”


This post is brought to you tonight by today’s One-Word Challenge, “ gumption.” Of course, “spunk” is a synonym for “gumption.” Well, it used to be, anyway. These days it’s considered a slang word for semen.

SoCS — All About the Noun

F20C39CA-980F-45B7-B94B-481B7FB740DCNouns: you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. Am I right, or what?

Nouns are words used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things. And while necessary, nouns mostly just sit there. In and of themselves, they don’t do much. Well, except for pronouns like “you” and “me,” “her” and “him,” “them” and “us.” I take pronouns personally.

But when it comes right down to it, I prefer verbs over nouns. Verbs are words used to describe an action, state, or occurrence. Verbs do things while nouns just hang out waiting for verbs to do things to, with, on, or around them.

Take the sentence, “He ate my ice cream.” The words “he,” “my,” and “ice cream” are nouns. (Well, technically, in this sentence the word “ice” might be considered an adjective, as it’s describing a type of cream. It’s ice cream and not sour cream or whipped cream. That said, “ice” can also be a noun, as in “Do you have any ice?”)

But I digress. The key to this sentence is not who did what to whom, but what action was done. He ate my ice cream. He could have done other things to my ice cream, like dropped it or melted it or tossed it. But he ate it. And for that act, I hate him. I really wanted to eat that ice cream myself, dammit.

So be aware, nouns, you may be the subject of — and even the object of — nearly every sentence, but it’s verbs where the action is.

And not to pile on, nouns, but it’s adjectives that make you interesting. It’s adjectives that give you color and size and depth and personality. Without adjectives, nouns, you’re kinda boring and lifeless. And without verbs, you ain’t doing much of anything.


Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. The challenge is to simply to start your post with a noun.

Three Things Challenge — Well Done

F4A7AE51-33AF-49F4-867D-44A3C2B5C9CBWhen Teresa over at The Haunted Wordsmith came up with today’s Three Things Challenge, I was stumped. The three things were “child,” “goblin,” and “underwater.”

I racked my brain trying to figure out how to write a post using those three disparate words, “child, “goblin,” and “underwater.”

But then I had an epiphany. I said to myself, “Self, you just did write a post using those three words, ‘child,’ ‘goblin,’ and ‘underwater.’ Well done, Fandango!”