Studying People on Study Sunday

I know myself well enough by now to know that studying at home is never going to be productive.  For starters, I am constantly thinking of one of three things:

1.  Man, there is a lot of stuff that I really should get done around here.  Maybe I’ll just clean for a little bit and then go back to studying.  I never go back to studying.

2.  I’m kind of, sort of, not really hungry but maybe I’ll make a snack. Oh, actually, maybe I’ll just make a drink.  Two in the afternoon on a Sunday isn’t too early for a drink, is it?  Nah!!! I never go back to studying.

3.  Huh, I wonder what my bed is doing right now?  It is probably up there, all alone, looking super comfortable and cozy.  I should just go up there for a minute to say hello.  After all, I haven’t visited with my bed since this morning and I don’t want it to feel neglected.  I never go back to studying.

So I know that I have to force myself to leave my house if I ever plan on getting any real studying done.  I also know that I can’t take my computer with me because I will constantly be wondering what is going on in the world of Facebook.  I will, all of a sudden, feel a need to look at all 897 pictures of the girl who my “friend” stated talking to just to make sure that she doesn’t look cuter, funnier, or smarter than me.  I know that those last two things would be difficult to determine based on looking at a picture, but now you should be able to understand why I have to look so closely at each one.

Once I leave my house and go to a public spot, sans computer, the distractions don’t simply disappear.  I have this horrible habit of listening to everything around me.  I do it all the time!

At a restaurant with friends: I’m listening, telling stories, sharing the mozzarella sticks, but the whole time I am listening to at least three conversations around us.

In a quite library:  things will be going well enough until someone sits six tables away from me and is wearing a wrist watch.  I can hear the damn ticking!  I’m not joking!  And as soon as I hear it, there is no hope of ever tuning it out.

The thing that really drives me crazy though is when women feel the need to speak with really hard “s” and “t” sounds.  These same women usually carry on, ad  nauseam, about something that they, alone, think is of high importance.  Usually it has something to do with their amazing four-year-old and how much smarter they are than every other four-year-old in the world.  Sometimes it is about the unfair service they received at their country club.  Or how they ordered a Shriaz but were served a Syrah, and yes, there is a difference.  I will often find myself unknowingly clenching my fists as I fight the urge to turn around and yell, “Shut the hell up!!  Seriously, just shut up!  Oh, and next time why don’t you order a bottle of Malbec?  I’m sure they won’t be able to screw that up!!!”

I’ve discovered that the best way for me to get any studying done is to sit at a table in a bookstore right next to the children’s section.  Oddly enough, the constant squeals, crys, and various noises that tiny humans insist on making are far less distracting to me, thus they are more easily tuned out.  So, I was quite pleased today when my studying was only distracted twice in three hours.

The first time involved a family of four.  There was a mother, father, three-year-old boy and a twelve month old boy.  The mother asked the father to watch the kids so she could go to the bathroom.  Daddy sat down at the Lego table and became totally focused on playing Legos with the three-year-old.  Meanwhile, the baby was left to entertain himself, which he did quite effectively.  He had a toy that he would throw on the ground and then he would wobble after it like a drunk trying to pick up their shoe that fell off.  He would reach his toy, pick it up, throw it again, and chase after it.  The entire time the baby was getting  closer and closer to me and further and further away from his father, who didn’t turn around once.

At this point I should mention that kids, for whatever reason, always seem to like me.  While adults, even complete strangers, always seem to trust me with their children.  So I was not surprised in the least when I saw that this little boy was making his way in my direction.  What I was surprised by was when he took a fast detour and went running to throw his toy over the railing and onto the unsuspecting people on the floor below.  Thankfully another mother stepped in, picked the baby up, and returned him to his father.  The father threw the baby in the air playfully and said, “I have two of you now.  I always forget that I have two of you!”  Oh dear Lord!  That child has been on this earth for, AT LEAST, twelve months now and you keep “forgetting” that you have him?!  I’ll admit, there was a part of me that didn’t intervene because I wanted the mother to come back and see how far away her baby was and how the father wasn’t watching at all.  But, alas, mommy came back and was none the wiser.

The forgetful little family left and I was able to focus on my studying again, instead of keeping a watchful eye one someone else’s spawn.  My next distraction came in the form of three high school kids: one boy, two girls.  One of the girls asked someone about a wheat allergy.  The guy answered her saying something about gluten. The girl then asked, “If they don’t eat wheat, are they a vegetarian?’  At this point I simply stopped working because I knew that I couldn’t NOT listen to his answer.  And boy, he did not disappoint when he said this:

“Yeah.  Well vegetarians don’t eat wheat but they also don’t eat cows or chickens.  See, they believe that all animals have a soul so they refuse to eat them.  But they do eat fish but that’s different.  It’s okay to eat fish because you’re not hurting their soul.”

I seriously snorted as I tried to contain my laughter.  Was this kid for real?  I thought my head was going to explode when I heard her say:

“Wow, you’re really smart about so many things.”

To which he replied,

“Yeah, I know a lot of really random facts about people and the world.”

It was at that point that I decided to call it a night.  I knew that, as long as they were still talking, I would never be able to get any more work done.  All in all though I am pleased with the three hours that I did get it.  Hooray for me!

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