I'm short. Though I rather prefer the term concentrated, as in "I'm not short, I'm concentrated." *
I can also concentrate. Growing up in a large, boisterous family meant that early on I developed the ability to tune out the uproar and focus on what I was doing. I could relate to the story about Marie Curie, where her sisters and cousins built a tower of chairs around her while she obliviously read a book. Earlier this fall I sat on a bench, waiting for the train from Center City, not even 10 feet from the tracks. The R5 came and went, disgorging and loading passengers right in front of me and I never noticed. It was as if the rest of the world had temporarily vanished.
Wednesday night after dinner I retreated to my study to finish off the reflection I was writing for Christmas — initially drafted in the absolute silence and solitude of Wernersville's library. The contrast between my study and the library was acute. A steady stream of visitors appeared (to feed the sea monkeys, to grab something from the printer, to check on a book, to see if I would come fill her bowl with crunches, to…well, you get the idea). Determined to finish and get to bed before midnight, I barricaded the door (to keep out the cat) and burrowed deeper into the writing. Pop — the rest of the world disappeared off my radar.
Suddenly the door burst open, I squeaked in surprise and Barnacle Boy let out a sigh of relief. "I called you three time and you didn't answer, I was afraid you had fainted!" (I had given blood earlier in the day, but was fairly well rehydrated by now.) "No…just concentrating!"
It's a mad skill and one I'm glad I haven't entirely lost…
*With apologies to Lois Bujold's creation Miles Vorkosigan.
Photo is my stuff strewn around the floor in the back corner of the library. The circle kept growing until I was nearly as barricaded in as Marie Curie.