Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Two minutes in the morning, two minutes at night -- that's "shiny pearly whites" time for Em.

My morning toothbrush, a Philips Sonicare, sits in a charger with a bright green light. Once I press it's green button, it signals me every thirty-seconds. During each interval, I do a "think" that sets the mood for the first few hours of my morning. Sometimes I'm just sleepily thinking, oh, dear another day, or remembering what the dentist suggested last time I was there.

This morning, I found myself recalling yesterday -- bright-eyed, helpful "Joey," at the Footlocker store, ordering the classic Reeboks that no stores are carrying anymore, getting my sneakers delivered to my home.

When I gave him my address, why did I say -"it's our building." Was I bragging, implying we're rich? Sure, we're rich compared to Joey, but not rich like the guys on a Fortune Magazine list. Did I want Joey to think I was "somebody?"

I got off that "think" track quickly. It reminded me of how I was feeling last November -- before I had my Website and published my novels on line. I felt like a "nobody." I don't want to dwell on why and how I got to that place, when the place where I'm at now is fun, and much better.

My two-minutes were up. I galloped down the stairs to my office, and blogger's world.

And my inner timer -- an eager feeling -- checking my email, checking my blue galaxy painting that I use for a bulletin board. The IDEAS page signals me, tells me what to attack -- the subject and one word notes that focus me on what I was thinking, when I put down the idea.

After doing all the things you do to get your computer going, get your fingers on the keyboard, I play the piano on the keys -- usually allegro, until I get another signal -- the look-around, the "mmm" that tells me, get another cup of coffee. Or a snack.

I pay attention to the signals: Sleepy means my mind is wandering, tells me, "take a break." A restlessness, a sudden impulse to phone someone, is a signal -- it says STOP -- "Em, you're unclear --you're writing rambling sentences."

That's my signal, to go looking on the internet, for a picture to decorate what I'm writing about.

Click and you'll hear the silly song that I found.

Toothbrushing in the evening is a different routine, a different brush -- an Oral B with a beautiful blue light on its charger.

The Oral B has no intervals -- it just beeps when the two-minutes are up. So I'm on my own, doing a "think" on the news we've been listening to, drifting into a review of my day, what I wrote, what I'm going to be working on tomorrow, quite often grabbing a pencil, writing down a new idea. But sometimes, when I'm tired, the two minutes seems endless, boring -- I even turn it off before the beep.

I'm not selling toothbrushes, but the Oral B's up and down pulsations are around 20,000 per minute. And three years ago it cost $55. We bought my Sonicare around the same time for $109. (It sells now for $135.) It delivers 31,000 brushing strokes per minute -- that's a lot of brushing.

Which is better? Lower numbers, lower cost, with freedom to roam in your mind, anywhere for two minutes, versus two minutes of controlled intervals of thinking?

I like the beautiful blue light Oral B better, but the four intervals on the green for go Sonicare feels like it takes less time. I like signals. I listen and look and hear them, find them -- throughout my day as a writer. Like punctuation, signals keeps me more gainfully, creatively, happily employed.

1 comment:

Carola said...

When I bought my new Sonicare, it was like the Oral B - no more signal every 30 seconds (I must have gotten a cheaper model). So I mentally sing Yankee Doodle over and over again, so that each quarter of my mouth gets 1/4 of the 2 minutes. Not as pleasant an experience as your think periods. I also use Yankee Doodle for washing hands (not 2 minutes, however).