Monday, January 11, 2010

Like moving a beach... one grain of sand at a time.

That's what today's CLE (continuing legal education) felt like. For those lucky enough to not know what I'm talking about, it's a mandatory update for attorneys to keep their wealth of legal knowledge current.

Just in case you forget how to use the computer to look up laws and cases online.

I've been out of the workforce for almost five years. During that time, the world of electronic distractions has exploded exponentially. Once upon a time we used to amuse ourselves at these things by passing notes back and forth, reading the paper, or other magazines, or sneaking out for a snack after signing in. People used to smoke more too.

But now, thanks to smartphones, laptops and electronic readers, no one ever has to pay attention to any speaker at any conference or meeting again. As my brother put it today, while we conversed via FaceBook (hereinafter FB):

"Good thing for smartphones, eh? Everybody in a conference room, heads bowed in reverent blackberry prayer."

It's true. Except for the old timers. They're the only ones looking up at the speaker. But before we congratulate them, I looked up long enough to note that some were knitting. Yes, I said knitting. And some were still reading the old standby,

The New York Times.

None of this is any big mystery. I'm hardly breaking any confidences by revealing that more than half the audience there was busy doing other things. The woman in the row in front of me was multitasking in a very pro-Martha way. She was writing out thank you cards.

I did look up long enough to note the names of important cases I will have to look up later (ONLINE) and read at my leisure (ie at lunch or on the subway). I also spent a significant amount of time trying to distract myself from walking out of the room to go hit the snack area. In the morning they had a huge spread of bagels, fruit, pastry, coffees and teas. They provided brown bag lunches. But there was also post-lunch coffee break with brownies and pretzels.

In an effort to stay accountable, I talked myself down from many possible diet minefields today. Part of what helped was this book I'm reading, called "Mindless Eating." The title alone pretty much describes what the last ten days of my life have been like. But other than that, it's got lovely bits of anecdotal research about the way the little bits of food we nibble here and there, without thinking about it, wind up costing us the extra pounds over the course of the year.

I also used FB to work out food issues. Here's the dialogue I had going back and forth:

me: and bagels. Why must there always be bagels at these things? They're like 12 points a piece!

EG: I've never looked at bagels the same since WW.

TR: Doesn't ripping out the insides take away the points?

MT: Wow, you must be going crazy. This is your like 3rd post in two hours!Good luck getting through your day!

me: (in reference to scooping out the insides) Right. Like that's what I want to do. Eat the crusty outside shell. The guts smeared with cream cheese is the best part. Geesh.

TR: A little outside shell is better than drooling over them. Then again, I'm just one to throw out any notion of points and eat it anyways.

me: It may just come to that. I ate breakfast hours ago, but just thinking about them laid out all pretty on that silver platter outside this room is making me salivate.

HF: I say, have half a half. You get the taste of the bagel for what, like 3 points? I never got why bagels are so bad - they are tasty deliciousness to me. Plus, being Jewish, they're my birthright. Which I think makes them half the points.

TR: That was hours ago! Think of it as a mid morning snack.

me: I keep thinking if I wait it out, the selection will be limited by the next coffee break and the cream cheese will be all dried out. Hence, I won't eat it.

AC: Sadaf, don't do it! They're from Dunkin Donuts and not delish and so not worth it!

TR: Or, you could try and guess how many people didn't wash their hands after using the bathroom and then touched the bagels.

me: Now I feel sick. Yay! Craving gone. Thanks guys!

HF: You guys are good. I may never eat a bagel again.

DS: Think of all the grubby coworkers that are touching each one before picking one.

JL: mm, germy bagels!

DS: Too many stomach viruses around to eat anything that isn't wrapped. See, that works too!

Thank God for FB, which has helped me connect with all my dear friends who love a distraction as much as I.

After CLE, I came home and hung out with my kids. We had highly stimulating conversations about the dog:

(no, Oscar does not have glaucoma or cataracts. My crappity crap, but free adobe photoshop is not taking the redeye out)

Mina: Dogs don't talk, Mom. Only seeing eye dogs.
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