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May 12, 2011

Lost in Thought

You see it all the time in books of all genres.

The narrator is going over previous events, or having the character think heavily about something. Maybe trying to piece together the clues in a murder case. Maybe trying to figure a way out of the death trap that the black-clad villain has trapped her and her companion in.

Maybe she's trying to sort her grocery list.

Whatever the case, what inevitably follows is a sentence like "Linda realized that Joe had been talking to her the whole time. 'Are you even listening to me?' Joe asked."

Then the conversation will continue.

But does that really happen?

Have you ever been so lost in thought that you haven't heard that a person around you is speaking to you?

I can't remember it ever happening to me.

Oh, sure. If you're *doing* something, I can see it happening. If you're reading a book, a blog post (like this one?), playing a game. My wife has completely missed when I've said something to her because she's wrapped up in reading something. I know I've done the same thing.

But just sitting there, lost in space? Letting your mind wander?

I've never been that lost in thought.

If I'm just thinking of something and somebody comes up to me and starts talking, or is already in the same room and starts talking, my train of thought is interrupted and I hear what they have to say. I may not *listen* to what they have to say, but I do hear it.

And then I beat them to a bloody pulp because I ALMOST had the secret to world peace all figured out, but it's all gone now because they opened their gaping pie-hole and my train of thought derailed.

Once I've dismissed them from my mind, I can sometimes get back to what I was thinking about. If I'm lucky.

And if I'm able to tune out the screaming.

Which I usually can. Though sometimes I do have to move to the next room.

I'm sorry, did you say something?

This is part of Duane Scott's "Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays" series. Head on over to Duane's page to find some more disturbed posts!

Disclaimer: No innocent persons were harmed in the creation of this post.

Not for lack of trying.


  1. Wow. I've been guilty of this, both in my writing and in real life. I see your point that this happens way more in fiction than the real world. From reading you would imagine that this happens every day to people.

    I'm pretty sure the only person I can tune out entirely is my wife. She doesn't appreciate that ability, but I like to think of it as my super power.

  2. It happened a couple of times in the book I just read, which brought it to mind really easily.

    LOL I will not comment on the spouse, because I have to sleep sometime. :)

  3. This was a really cool post. I can disassociate at times, so I totally have been lost in thought before where I don't hear anything. It's not often but it does happen from time to time.

    I'm glad I ventured onto this site now...hope to read more, too much to go through the archives, man you write a good amount...

  4. Thanks, Nick! I really appreciate the kind words.

    I have had this blog for almost 2 years now, so I'm not *that* prolific. But I do try to get 2-3 posts a week done.

  5. I have.

    And I wasn't distracted by anything else like a book or a blog. My mind wrestled with a new plot or my mind recalls a comment that could turn into a new blog; either way my mind is always writing and sometimes that gets me into trouble. I'll actually miss some of the conversation. I've actually done that while driving and missed a dead elk on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. My husband calls me from our caravan and says, "Did you see that?"

    "No," I say. "I was thinking about the shadowy minions in my book."

  6. I can see that, Nikole. I just don't think it happens as much as it does in literature. That's all.

    And I know it hasn't happened to me.

    I'm glad you stopped by! I hope you come back.


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