I have a lot to do … it’s time for bed
Burt's Eye View
“What’s that quote about distractions?” she asked. “Something about monsters and bugs.”
I picked up my smartphone — actually, I already was holding it; the thing seems to be stuck to my palm — and tapped the screen. “Life is a hailstorm of distractions. It’s not the monster that stops us but the mosquito. By Robert G. Allen.”
“Yeah, that’s the one,” she said. “What was that from?”
“Hang on,” I said. “Ralph just texted me.”
“Text isn’t a verb,” she said. She started scrolling through the screens on her smartphone.
I tapped my reply to Ralph.
“Why don’t you just call him?” she said. “It would be faster.”
“What? And let ol’ Ralph distract me from today’s to-do list? No way. I’m too busy.”
She waved her phone at me. “Look, I told you ‘texted’ is not a verb.”
“You didn’t check the right sites,” I said. “Let me look that up … Oh, wait, YouTube just popped up with a clip from ‘Get Smart.’ It was my favorite back in 1965, ’66.”
For the next 40 minutes, I reminisced with Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86, which lead me to other suggested YouTube clips — “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” “Mr. Ed,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Monkees” and “Batman.”
A chime interrupted. “My Facebook message alert.” I toggled that screen and snorted. “Look at this meme Ralphie sent me.”
It was a photo of the side of a cliff that had fallen onto the road below. Above the photo were the words: “Police are investigating a suspicious incident on a motorway and would like to speak to a Mr. Wile E. Coyote.”
“Did you see this one?” she said. “It’s truth.”
The one-panel Aunty Acid cartoon proclaimed, “Nobody lives in false hope more than a mom who places items on the stairs for her family members to take up.”
I chuckled. “What else do we have?”
I tapped my screen. I found a picture of a toddler talking on a toy telephone: “So today in church, a guy in a dress tried to drown me, and I kid you not, my family just stood there taking pictures.”
On a picture of rumpled sheets and blankets: “I set my alarm early enough so I have time to lie in bed and be sad about having to get up.”
Over a swirly backdrop: “Have we tried unplugging 2020, waiting 10 seconds and plugging it back in?”
“Hold up, what’s this?” I almost rolled right past the site boasting the best I-don’t-work-here-lady stories. I clicked. And read aloud for the next 20 minutes.
“… ‘This is a McDonald’s uniform, lady. I can’t sell you stamps because this is the post office and I don’t work here!'” I wiped tears of mirth from my eyes. “Clueless folks waste so much of other folks’ time.”
“I wonder what this one is about,” she said. A page on her phone practically shouted, “Take our four-minute free personality test to discover your strengths and talents.”
“As if an Internet test could be accurate,” she scoffed.
“Let’s find out,” I said. I clicked “Begin.”
A bell clanged. “What’s that?”
“The clock,” she said. “It’s time for bed.”
“Already? But I haven’t done anything yet.”
“I hear a mosquito,” she said.
And just like that, I was distracted.
— Distract Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at BurtonWCole on Twitter. He’s probably already checking those sites on his smartphone.