If the shoe fits

Our attention spans are shortening.

An average attention span— the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted — has decreased to just 8 seconds. This is 50% less than 17 years ago!”

I can vouch for the truth of this claim, based solely on my own experiences. In the time it’s taken me to write these sentences, I’ve answered one email, followed a link on another, gone to the kitchen for a Graham cracker, researched lawn care services, and complained about this new WordPress format a hundred times.

The topic of paying attention on the job and in school is well-covered on many web sites, as is paying attention to others and to the world around you.

Equally important is paying attention to everyday situations, and that’s where my examples come in.

A few months ago, my husband and I bought new running/walking shoes. We happened to choose the same style shoe. The clerk had not checked our foot sizes, perhaps because to do so would require her to be closer than six feet from our faces; instead, she relied on our word for what sizes we wore. The first shoe I tried on was tight, so I went for a larger size than I’d ever worn before and hoped I’d judged correctly.

After wearing the shoes for a couple of days, I decided I had made a mistake. On my walk around the track at the local Y, I knew exactly what clown’s shoes felt like. How did circus performers manage to navigate in these floppy, wide-toed monsters? And what was I going to do about my obvious mistake? After a few days of complaining to my husband, he noticed another pair of shoes sitting near the fireplace and said, “Did you know you’re wearing my shoes?

No. I didn’t. I hadn’t paid attention.

Not long after this event, my wire whisk developed a problem. I use a whisk often, and always found this one a little short at twelve inches, because my hand became very warm in the course of stirring it in a pan on the burner. I began a search for a new one. In the kitchen shop the whisks were even shorter than mine. After much research, I finally found one on-line. Not thinking about anything but the fact that my hand would not overheat using this one, I ordered it right away. When it arrived, I had to ask my husband, “What size pan do you think this twenty-two inch whisk would work best in?”

“A cauldron,” was his answer. And that sums up why I have to start paying more attention.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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9 Responses to If the shoe fits

  1. Vera Risdon says:

    Oh, Ann! You made me laugh out loud! I can so relate! Sure was good to see you the other day.

  2. Karen Clark says:

    Well that laugh brought tears to my eyes!

  3. Sharon Howard says:

    You are so funny !


  4. Judy Johnson says:


    Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________

  5. nsinui says:

    I love this post. Anything that makes me chuckle in an empty room is so welcome. Well done! And thanks for your cotinuing self-revelation and deprecation. Hope you are having a good weekend!


  6. Eleanor Owen says:

    I laughed at every sentence and found myself focusing on the possible connection between an eight second attention span and the 50% drop in male sperm count which may account for overall smaller family size.

    An equally humorous yet informative article on this issue via Google.

  7. travelnwrite says:

    Great post!

  8. Darlene Bishop says:

    Thanks for the laugh—it’s always good to know we’re not alone

  9. Marilyn Pedersen says:

    This truly brought a hearty laugh this morning! Many thanks, Ann.

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