Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Derailing Your Train Of Thought

I'll just give you a minute to absorb the cleverness that is my title.

I'll wait.



First, I have to note for you grammar/spelling/punctuation junkies out there that yes, I realize that within a title, words like "of" and "the" are lower-case, however you must understand that I have fairly involved OCD tendencies, and a lower-case "o" in "of" would have made my skin itch. So there.

So! Your question for the day...

What sends your mind wandering? Do you enjoy it, and where does it go?

I love the paths our minds can take. I'm a world-class wool-gatherer, myself, and the best time for it, the instance in which I get the strangest results (besides when I'm trying to get to sleep), is on the bus.

While public transportation is useful and green (and free, the one real bonus of working where I do), it's also really...


Granted, some public transportation experiences are more exciting than others, Chicago features a rather colorful elevated train system that makes for some of the best (or worst, depending on the strength of your stomach) people-watching, and the bus ride I personally enjoy these days gives me a luxuriously long view of the front range every day, but it still gets to be routine after awhile.

I can't read on the bus without severe consequences, and although I enjoy my little iPod a great deal there are only so many times I can hear the same songs over and over again (it's only a shuffle, not a lot of room on there), and TAL only has one free podcast a week, which is the best one-way trip of the week, granted, but still just one trip out of the 10 available during a week.

And so on those long, understimulated bus rides...

My mind wanders!

Depending on if I've opted for music, or if there's interesting weather going on outside, or there's a stinky fellow commuter next to me, the path my thoughts take can be linear - I keep a notepad for list-making - or it can be meandering, making connections from one thing to the next.

Sometimes it's driven by reviewing my experiences, going over and over something to analyze it, something triggered by a particular song and it's connection to someone else, and sometimes the winding road is purely me making stuff up... I've had some of my best unwritten novel and million-dollar movie ideas on public transportation excursions.

Staring at my fellow passengers (I really do have a problem) is the best way to come up with completely fictional stories to tell myself and pass the time. Some I see every day, and I get as used to them as the view from the front window, but sometimes we get a STRANGER... someone who doesn't belong, and whose past could contain anything at all.

Yesterday I found myself inspired by a couple of my fellow passengers, and started jotting down little notes about them.

I'd call it "poetry" but I'm pretty sure if I did, the ghost of Keats would find me and beat me to death with my purple notebook.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


An old man smelling roses starts their petals falling and
laments the lateness of our transport.
It comes and he's gone but the petals still fall.

A shared seat with an Egyptian-eyed girl...
She looks through the window, thoughtful...
Or maybe just mindful of her stop.

Loud talkers disrespect the Church-silent riders,
unaware of the stares of contempt.
They don't care to know our thoughts.

Boredom makes the most literate resort to anything,
Schedules, instructions... anything to coax the wheels a little faster.
It never works.


Wow, I wasn't kidding was I! Terrible stuff.

So... what's the coolest thing you've ever thought up while wandering? What's the weirdest?


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