I cannot keep up
I cannot keep up.
There is too much stuff coming at me: information, contacts, urgent to dos.
There is good, high quality stuff. There’s drivel and dangerous stuff.
Personal stuff. And stuff I want to tell the world.
It is a feeling I have always had. An urgency about time.
But it has deeply intensified during the pandemic.
I hear people talking about all the time they have on their hands. What time? Really! What time? Please give me some of that time.
It is irksome that Stanford distributed a page of the sort you would find in a coloring book. Complete with a notation “Crayons not included”.
How about a blank page for OpEds? With a notation “Words not included.”
Or a blank presentation? With a notation “Lecture slides not included.”
There is a lot of self-criticism about all the things I cannot get to. Important things. And about which direction to go.
This is not about procrastination. Or writer’s block. Or worker’s block. It is about overload.
- Emails unanswered.
- OpEds unwritten.
- Written OpEds unedited.
- Edited OpEds unsent.
- Student work ungraded.
- Chapters, proposals unfinished.
- Seminars not attended.
- Piles of papers unsorted.
- Pictures not taken. Or edited. Or posted.
- Never ending to do lists.
People talk about being disconnected.
There are so many aspects to that — truths and untruths.
I do know that I am in touch with many, many people from every corner and time period in my life. This part has been so rewarding. So rewarding. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch. And if I have not responded, yet, it is because of time.
Some time is saved by not having to get from place to place.
Much time is devoted to the endless onslaught of zoom meetings. Zooms about zooming. Zooms about zooms about zooming.
This short outpouring takes time. But it is also a response to the need get the ideas out.
The ideas keep flooding. No time.
Where to post? Where to send?
- Medium? Convenient, but who will read? Example: “Viralandia”.
- The New York Times? It would have cache, but the turn around time is forever. Often, you never hear back.
- Fox. They have been very accommodating. But is this an association I want?
- Facebook. Convenient. But oh so transient. Once it scrolls out of the view of the current feeds it seems to disappear from mind forever. Facebook. So deeply flawed and dangerous. But so very useful and powerful. So full of “memory candy”.
Here is an idea about ideas.
I suggested this thought to Erin Allday at the SF Chronicle.
The idea is for a new daily feature in the paper.
A set of paragraphs from a group of people writing about the Pandemic. What is top of mind today? Mini OpEds.
Contributors could write them without having to worry about where to send them.
The feature could involve the same people each day. Or a varying panel.
Researchers. Politicians. Teachers. Pundits. Epidemiologists. Clinicians. Anthropologists. First responders.
Maybe they will agree. Or contradict.
Examples:- Where is the pandemic going?
- When will it end?
- How will it end?
- Why all this fuss about testing?
- What is keeping you up at night? (This.)
- Or putting you to sleep during the day?
Can we get people to write a paragraph? Something else that takes up time. When there is no time. But I think it will save time. It will obviate the need to repeat their ideas many times each day. And allow them to move on to the next vexing thought-virus.
And there is this.
I have a sense that I want to remember what I knew when.
Is it a new thought? Or was it just floating in the air for anyone and everyone to grab?
And I want to know what other people knew when.
The last couple of days, nursing homes seemed to be top of mind for many people.
Before that, cats with corona.
Tomorrow, it seems like it may be the big question of “Do ventilators actually help?”
Or maybe the Google-Apple collaboration to do contact tracing by tracking phones. We really did know this was coming
What did I know when?
This. This is what I know now. At this time.
But there is also this.
The urge to “I-told-you-so.”
I said that yesterday. Last week. In January. Five years ago.
I-told-you-so-ing is very compelling. It is related to the desire to get credit for an idea.
I-told-you-so-ing almost never gets you/me anywhere.
I-told-you-so-ing looks backwards when we need to be looking forward.
I-told-you-so-ing is one of many compelling but pointless urges.
Some unfinished OpEds:
- Pandemic words.
- What I hate models.
- Why things will never be the way they were.
- A novel model of immunopathogenesis.
Time to end.
Sorry for the typos. Grammos. Ideaos.