Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Today I write in praise of pausing

MarionFranckW

By
From page A15 | June 01, 2014 |

This is a column in praise of the pause. I’ve been pausing for things all my life, but I recently realized that some pauses ― not the traffic-signal type ― contain hidden wealth.

The other day I was trying to remember who sang “If You Could Read My Mind.” I pictured the singer’s face and heard his voice. I could even hear the syllables of his name in my head as if someone were tapping them out on a drum: Thump, thump. Pause. Thump, thump. But the name didn’t come, and I had to resort to Google to find Gordon Lightfoot.

The friend who was with me had just failed to remember the name of another singer, so we commiserated. This is probably age-related. Then she told me about her coping mechanism.

In situations where she cares about the outcome, she pauses before she speaks. She takes an extra moment, not only to think about what she’s going to say, but also to make sure she recalls the names of the people or places she plans to mention. This adds a second or two of think time ― a short pause ― but no one notices.

I don’t need this tactic with friends, especially those who forget things, too, but it’s great for formal situations. I’ve begun to try it.
――――
My second new pause is very different. This one is solitary, although it takes place immediately after I’ve been with other people.
Perhaps I’ve had lunch with someone, or we’ve gone on a walk together, or talked on the phone. After we say good-bye, I tell myself not to do any of the things I’m tempted to do.

Don’t check my smartphone. If I’m in the car, don’t turn on the radio. If I’m at home, don’t go to my computer. For about five minutes I allow myself no distractions.

I use this time to do two things. First, I make a mental list of tasks related to the interaction I just had, especially things I might have missed. For example, after a recent breakfast with a friend I realized that she might need a ride for her upcoming minor surgery. I called her back.

The second part of my pause is the best part, the part that has yielded information I receive in no other way.

What I do is think about the time I just spent with the other person, especially what I’ve perceived but haven’t brought into my conscious thought. When I ruminate along these lines, I often recognize changes people have made in their lives, new steps in our relationship with each other, or tender moments I might later want to relive.

Spending this extra time also makes it more likely that I’ll remember our interaction. Even when it doesn’t, I enjoy the pause for what it is, and usually, that’s enough.

Recently a friend brought her guitar over and played a special song for me. That was a precious moment, a moment to savor, and it’s not the same if afterward I simply get in my car, close the door, and start thinking about something else. When I do that, I lose out.
――――
Finally, there’s the pause I’m working on but haven’t accomplished yet.

I’m not the type of person who immediately challenges what I read or hear. That kind of person is good at debate, and I never was. I don’t want to become adversarial, but I’d like to learn to think matters over more completely. I would especially like to learn to respond more analytically to new “facts.”

In a recent article, environmentally-aware novelist Barbara Kingsolver tells us how she analyzes new information, in this case about climate change. “I think about motive. Who has a dog in this fight? If the person making the statement has something to gain from my believing it, then it’s suspect.”

She got me thinking: If I can learn to consider the motivation of someone who is trying to persuade me of something, in print or in person, I will be a wiser human being.

This was brought home to me in the many months I read about Antarctica before and after my trip. Some of the explorers whose accounts I pored over were following cultural rules about what to write and what not to write.

British explorers, in particular, people like Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackelton, didn’t confess to fear, let alone despair in themselves or their men. British masculinity demanded the stiff upper lip. This limited what I could learn from their self-reports.

I began to think about what they did not write, in addition to what they did write, but I found that doing so took time. Not long periods of time, but moments snatched here and there ― short but essential pauses ― like the pauses you take when you’re sipping a drink or puffing on a cigarette.

To pause without doing either of those things, that’s the skill I want to master.
— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at marionf2@gmail.com

Comments

comments

.

News

Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Need for local foster parents grows

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
Tactical robot decreases officer risks

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Woman confronts suspicious follower

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Enterprise observes holiday hours

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Give blood and get a free movie ticket

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Thanksgiving feast is open to all

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Workshop will answer financial aid questions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Museum announces holiday schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Round up at the registers for Davis schools

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Swing your partner!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Open your heart

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Forum

There’s only one way to fix this

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Students barking up the wrong tree

By Our View | From Page: A14

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

 
Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

 
Daryl Cagle cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

 
Easing the stress during college application season

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

How I want to be remembered

By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

 
Watch out for holiday weight gain

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

 
When the computer stares back

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A16

.

Sports

Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men finish off Furman

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Late shot sinks Aggie women

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

 
Honey, spreads showcased at open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8