Sunday, September 18, 2011

Every Time Like the Present

Airport layovers are nature’s way of telling you that the present is never as exhilarating as the promise made by the itinerary that created it. Layovers are the present tense in perpetuity -- a sleight of clock hand that drum rolls into the oblivion of Bill Murray’s wake-up call. Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow and all flights are hound-grounded.

I crawl into the moment by watching former President Clinton carbing ‘n marbling himself into a stent bypass on CNN. Nearby a bullet-shaped member of the supersize majority is recounting his day in the life of food to no one and his cell phone. A med student points up at the CNN cardio-mercial and chimes in: “His vessels didn’t take – that’s three weeks after surgery!”

I’m watching the bloat in my own beltline after five days of Sodexho-laden sauces and vegetables languishing in puddles of Crisco. The fact that my colleagues and I had time to scarf but not to use the gym reminds me that recess is not just a luxury for unsupervised and underachieving children.

Another wrinkle in the exhilaration vacuum is the notion that one can buy complete shaving kits from a vending machine by the CNN Cardiac show but there’s nowhere in Dallas Fort Worth International to purchase a U.S. postage stamp. Fortunately Marilyn, the information booth minder, takes it upon herself to supply them out of her own purse and refuses to transact unless I receive the exact change. Alas, pennies have as much of a future in airports as letters have in the future of commercial communications.

The other fidgety pastime happening below the real time beltline are the messages exploding in the pockets of the rankled and filed. I attributed any retention of youth to having one version of any story worthy of piecing back together and for not being online once powering off my PC. Committing one version per memory story is the way to age like Mount Rushmore – not like these pasty-faced, mortal Presidents of ours.

That rationale fell by the wayside over 3 squares of Sodexho helper when I was assigned my first Blackberry. So far the overwhelming command is to annihilate textual noise before it piles on too high. So far I’ve yet to master this in less than two clicks per delete.

I did manage to load my GMAIL contacts which meant I could relocate the physical addresses of the folks I was sending cards and letters to. It would have been a little too present tense if they received these mailings with a hometown postmark. Perhaps the post office could charge extra for our postal stamp location preferences?  That would take us out of the mundane and let us live in the moment of our own keeping. Alias locations powered by the USPS – it sounds so anti-government it just might fly.

The med student sees me return from checking our flight status – three hours after our planned departure. “is there hope?” she inquires with a smile. I tell her I never lost hope. Once you suspend yourself in the forces of inertia you can retain water, single versions of repeatable events, and yes, hope that I will not be tethered to defending my goal crease against the encroachment of voiceless smart phone chatter. I’ll remember that the next time I schedule a nonstop that leaves late anyway (because of its prior stop).

Why the delay?

There was a rainstorm tonight that thundered across the southwest and the impact in Dallas was the same as a butcher block New England blizzard – at least as far as the arrival board times throttled in the chokehold of a hub like Dallas. I don’t know whether God heeded Rick Perry’s Stadium-based prayer vigils or my rain coat in Terminal C. Water belongs in sprinkler systems – not on roads and runways, right? Either way the postage stamp provider just may have some grass to mow when she wakes up tomorrow.

I think of this as I cut my click-counts down to three. I anticipate a near term future where telepathy will zap SPAM – dead. A killer app … literally.

Without it we’re bobbing around the in-box surface, doomed to a life of todays as stand-ins for the yesterdays of tomorrow. It’s living in the here and now of offline cards and letters that transcends the essence of giving those tomorrows the yesterdays worth preserving.

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.