Mr. Distractible

Today’s post comes from tim

Driving by Lake Nokomis on Thursday morning the crew was out with the truck with the lift in the bucket on the back to hold the chainsaw guy to take down the 40 foot tall Elm tree with the disease.

I was wondering before we got there why there was such a big traffic back up. when I got there I realized everyone has to watch guys cut trees down a little bit. past that was a crew of another 10 workers who were digging a hole to get up some water pipes beneath the sidewalk. the hole was 15 feet long and 10 feet wide and 6 feet deep and traffic going the opposite way was slowing down to watch the guys dig.

I was reminded of leave it to beaver where Larry and the beeve would get distracted on their way to school stop and watch guys dig a hole or wait for people to come out of the manhole cover.

I feel that way when I’m watching guys set up amplifiers and drum sets on stage at a concert. where I should be looking towards the musical guest I get distracted and focus on other tasks.

I think it’s interesting when human instinct takes over and you get to see what can only be described as natural behavior kick in and override all of the polished growth and adult posturing we all do.

What ordinary sight transfixes you?

68 thoughts on “Mr. Distractible”

  1. Great observation, tim. A neighbor up the street had a massive tree taken down this past week – it took two days, probably because it was very close to the house. I’ll admit I walked up there twice to watch a bit.

    I love people-watching, so just about any ordinary thing will do. Had a great time at both the State Fair and the Ren Fest last weekend doing just that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Watching paint dry.
    Well, drying is not the good part. Watching someone who knows how put it in a canvas.
    Especially when you do not at first see what she/he is painting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i got to go to the state fair rt thing twice this year and a new feature they have is live artists working. the first time was a woman who painted or treated fabric to make it look kind of like japanese rice paper painting. interesting but not mesmerizing. second time there was a photographer that had a set up to photograph people in the line that formed and it was amazing. the normal looking people get transformed when you see them with a lighting treatment and high definition lens and a person who knows how to make the flash’s dance, it was very ccol 20 minutes easy. through 2 or 3 subjects. i would have loved to get in line but i would have been the 6th person and an hr is too long to stand in line unless its to see the beeve in the coffee cup at the top of the billboard

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Toward the end of my father’s life, he had a house guest: his brother-in-law, Herb. Herb was an unstable and intense guy, someone difficult to be near. Like my father at the time, Herb was in his eighties. He meant to stay with my dad a week, which spooked my father because he didn’t know how to entertain Herb.

    By coincidence, my dad had hired a crew to install rock riprap wall along the shore of his property to stop it from eroding and washing away into Lake Minnetonka. The crew set up a barge on which was a construction machine with a long articulated arm and a bucket, something called an “excavator.” The operator picked up boulders the size of watermelons and dropped them in place along the shore.

    That doesn’t begin to describe the process. The operator was an artist, a genius who could make his giant machine perform with astonishing grace and flexibility. He would grab a lumpy boulder, spin and rotate it and then place it in the growing wall of rock with precision that seemed impossible, even to those watching him perform.

    Every morning for nearly a week, Dad and Herb would fill coffee cups and sit all day in lawn chairs right near the beach so they could watch this man construct his rock wall with infinite patience and artistry. How often does a person get to observe something like that? Dad and Herb were way beyond transfixed.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Lots of ordinary animal and nature things intrigued me as a child and I would stop t watch: cows chewing their cud in their sleep, a horse eating thistles safely (backwards), pigs eating, Eagles floating in circles high above, cats hunting mice, a border collie herding, deer jumping a fence, bubbling creeks, a tree dropping its leaves in a short period of time except for those few hangerson. I never tired of watching hay fall behind the suckle of a mower.
    Like Steve’s father and uncle an operator who make heavy machinery do delicate things.
    A janitor I knew who was very palsied but was the school locksmith. He could control his hands to do delicate things maneuvers.
    My mother pushing an endless row of perfect stitches. It was she who taught me to notice the things of nature I listed.
    Little children running in joy and abandon.
    Double Dutching.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. The birds and animals in the back yard (or wherever I am). If I am ever in a nursing home, please please please put me by a window where I can look outside and see them.

    Walking with a little kid is a great example – half hour to walk two blocks to the park. You have to stop and examine every bug, every stick in your path, every leaf that moves in the breeze.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Staring at water:

    * Waves breaking on a beautiful sandy beach – a gorgeous sunset is a plus.
    * Waves crashing on a rocky beach or cliff
    * Waterfalls
    * Sitting on the dock of a quiet lake
    * Sitting alongside a burbling creek during a hike in the woods
    * Roaring rapids on a river

    The place I was most transfixed was walking the boardwalk and paths of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. It is a water lovers paradise.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I love watching repair people, crafts people, people fixing things, the birds in the back yard, animals, growing plants. There was a flock of flickers (say that really fast ten times) in the garden these past few days. I notice a flocking phenomenon every fall for both birds and children. It seems that in the summer I never see groups of children walking around the neighborhood, but come mid August, just as school registration happens, I see groups of children all over the place. This coincides with the birds grouping up, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yesterday I fished a honeybee out of a water dish I keep on the boulevard for passing dogs. I put the bee in the bee bath – a shallow plant saucer with rocks and water in it – and watched it recover for awhile. It spent a long time running its front legs over its head. Its wings appeared to be sorta stuck together, so I blew on it very lightly to help dry them. Later, after running some errands, I went back to see if it was still there. It wasn’t, but there was again a bee swimming in the dog dish. Don’t know if it was the same bee or a different one. Repeated the same rescue operation.

      Liked by 5 people

  8. Nice, Tim! I become transfixed by looking at family pictures on Mac’s iPhoto program. There are at least 3,000 by now spanning the last 15 years. Each photo triggers a small story in my head and, since I’ve only imported happy ones, the stories are funny, sunny, and uplifting. Even the first year of my journey back from cancer surgery and treatment are positive. Every now and then, I determine a category of images and go through highlighting, then ordering prints. This last week, I plucked out every dancing picture I could find. A month ago, I located and ordered every photo of each of my four cruises.

    A more recent transfixation are the seven seasons of West Wing. I watch 6 or 8 episodes a night. Last night’s was haunting because the main character, Leo, had a massive heart attack. He feigned it perfectly. I real life, he had a massive heart attack a few weeks later and died halfway through the final season as if filming last night’s episode was a rehearsal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved West Wing — Netflix is such a blessing. In the pilot episode, I loved the POTUS (Martin Sheen) first appearance. He comes in limping, quoting scripture to a group of self-righteous right-wingers and basically put them in their place. Great scene!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. at the spot where they put the more capable old folks when my dad broke his hip they had an aviary with a bunch of birds in a big closet kind of structure inside in te middle of the building. i thought it was odd when i first saw it but realized after a couple of visits how much everyone loved to sit and watch the birds. its like everywhere ought to have birds to do the same thing fish tanks do. my co worker used to sit and look at the fish for 10 minutes that i had been walking by for 2 years and when i went to look at what had his attention i realized how cool it is. i still dont do a great job of smelling the roses. i always have an agenda. but im working on it. its a little difficult because you cant possibly know how much you are missing. its like asking all the people who arent in the room to raise their hands

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Rise and Focus Baboons!

    Every day when I drive to work I get to cross the Mississippi River, that extraordinary, ordinary site. I see currents, floods, ice(seasonal), bald eagles fishing, people fishing, sculling teams, distant people throwing rocks into the river. The sights there are endless. This part of the commute is a daily highlight, a reminder of how rich and blessed my life is.

    The DOT just completed a repair project which reduced the Hwy 5 bridge to two lanes, creating the eternal traffic jam. The cranes and noise scared away the eagles. When I returned from Labor Day weekend and my mother’s big party, the route to work was easier–the bridge was entirely opened again. So the bald eagles that roost on it and nearby trees have returned, too. They are fishing from the river.

    What a gift that is. As a child growing up in the Silent Spring (Rachel Carson) there were few birds anywhere and eagles were vanishing. During my young adulthood I watched nesting pairs of eagles in N. MN, where I lived at that time, spark a resurgence of eagles. in my, ahem, “mature” adulthood, they are no longer endangered. They are becoming another extraordinary, ordinary sight.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. * Hummingbirds
    * “The Civil War” by Ken Burns (if you consider it ordinary – I think it is extraordinary)
    * Books – especially historical fiction/nonfiction or a really good mystery/thriller

    Liked by 2 people

    1. gotta go back and watch on youtube . i missed it and i tried to record it after i realized i had missed it but i dont know what i got yet.
      ken burns is the perfect example of “oh yeah whty didnt they do it that way before” scenario. we sit back and watch him and listen to his interviews and we say yes thats right thats exactly how it should be and yet when he began his quest no on did it that way. bless him for finding the way to do a 15 hr documentary. what a blessing. like watching a guy work. i would like to watch a documentary on watching ken burns make a documentary

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  11. Often distracted by books, few pages here, few pages there…someday I’ll read the whole book. perhaps. Distracted by piles of papers and magazines in the house….triggering memories and/or guilt for having too many piles. Sometimes I even sort and recycle. Retirement offers the luxury of taking the time. Of course, the computer offers its own distractions. Like right now as I should be in the car going to pick up feed for me and the animals.

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  12. K-two likes watching water. A friend was hired by the state of South Dakota to locate knapping sites (places where early Indians sat to whittle flint to make knives and points for arrows & spears). The state wanted to find those places so they wouldn’t start a construction project, only to be frustrated by discovering previous Indian use of the site that would prevent them from finishing the project. By discerning a pattern in known sites, John found many new knapping sites. They were on relatively high and land (so mosquitoes weren’t a problem) in places where the person shaping the flint could watch water while working. Just the sort of place you and I would choose if we had a project like that.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. in china the hillsides are all covered by shiney things that look kind of like those pinwheel spinners. i asked what that was all about and they told me when some on dies they bury them on a hill with the sun shining down on them and the beautiful view. after years of dead people in china the hills are mostly spoken for. oh yeah and they like spinney things like egyptian kings liked treasures to be buried with them

      Liked by 1 person

    1. can you stick thos e little trees in a cup and developp them into seedlings and start a tree farm? oaks willows maples ash. wouldnt it be nice to have rows and rows of redirected saplings. like refugees not wanted in one place but able to thrive when put in their correct place.

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  13. I’m distracted by people’s pets. If there are dogs or cats roaming a room, I am often sitting on the floor at creature eye level or at least dangling a hand down low where an animal can approach it. There’s always a part of me campaigning to be the one the pet chooses to sit by.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. im herding fish again this week
          i had a friend tell me years ago fish will teach you about inherent evul in life
          obe day one chooses sfter a year in a tank side bu side to begin sttacking another snd pummels until it is over
          i cant watch it or tolerate it
          i know its nature but do is a homicidal maniac, i just dont lnow what to do with a hannible lector fish.
          two tanks with rouge fish in solitary
          visiting as kailer with daily meal and feed them in judgement of their souls

          Like

    1. ok so that means now i need to ask for good series.
      news room
      something morbid from ben
      dalto abbey from steve
      my kid is all cranked up the thrones things.
      and others. kids (22) watch tv this way now. never mind scheduled showings. record it or pull it off netflix apple tv hulu youtube . what a world.
      please start a list of ones worthwhile wasting/ investing my life.

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  14. I find lots of distractions where ever I go. I particularly like to check out the flowers and other plants found in yards. I also like checking out other things in yards including any interesting activities. Some times I have to be reminded that it isn’t polite to stare at people because I am focusing too much attention on people who have an unusual or interesting appearance. If you are with me and are in a hurry to get some place you might need to tell me to stop gawking and “get a move on it”.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, that’s sort of like ‘Facebook Stalking’ where people haven’t blocked anything and one can look at all of someones posts and pictures.
          Be careful; you may get more than you bargined for…
          and it’s hard to ‘unsee’ something.

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    1. i always feel guilty when i speed around a person cursing them because the are impeding my progress
      i get around them and up the road a short distance i get enthralled in something and slow to a stop only to have the person i went around in a huff pass me by as i am quite happy and understanding of moving at my own pace when i find interest at hand. i need to remember others get to do the world their way too

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  15. Like K-two, water in its many forms – waves, waterfalls, etc. – fascinate me.

    I also can stare for hours at a burning fire. Preferably a camp fire outdoors, where I can look up and see the stars for variety.

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  16. Tim might find distracting a new book published by NDSU on the construction in the 1920’s of the Herbst Department store in Fargo, as I believe his grandfather may have helped build it. Check out today’s Fargp forum website.

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    1. dick herbst was my dads golf partner
      my dad used to use dick as the exple of the little engine who could. dick couldnt hit a golf ball more than 200 yards but hit it strsight snd true every time
      everyone hit further than dick but dick beat many of them by consistent execution of his less robust but more precise shots
      i shopped in herbst department store many times and loved that i was supporting dick rater than a store where the owner felt like a corporation
      thanks for the update
      i hate it when old buildings come down
      to accomadate some new millenium architectual wave of the hand
      no one will ever comment on the feeling that comes over them entering an example of modern strip msll architecture,
      yep jb built all that stuff and he would nod stoicly when as a 5 or 6 year old i would point and ask “did you build that one? yes that one yes that one yes
      which ones didn’t you build and he would look down the street and find one he didn’t build. but he built most of them

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    2. thanks renee
      i never knew the history
      i had forgotten the other brother bobby and dickey herbst were good guys
      fargo was the correct mix of civilization and individualism back then, all very nice to a kid who was tagging along

      Like

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