Two tracks

Yesterday, while working intently on one of my epigraphy projects, out of the corner of my eye I noticed something that looked like water damage on the ceiling. I turned my head to look at it, and realized that it was just a dried ornamental plant of my wife's on top of a bookcase, which I had seen from below with the ceiling behind it. I realized there actually was no water damage. And then, after I realized there was no water damage, it occurred to me that I should overcome my lethargy and go see how extensive the water damage was.

After a split second of surprise, I had to laugh at myself. I realized that seeing the apparent damage had set off two different courses of thought in my mind, and that they arrived in my consciousness in an order that made the second one useless to me. But it arrived anyway.

Not long ago something similar happened when I was crossing the street and felt myself in danger from a car. I got across and realized with relief that I had made it to safety. A second or two afterwards, I felt the sensation of fear, which I immediately noticed was no longer of any direct use to me in getting to safety.

I wonder if the slowness of the second of the two thoughts in each of these cases, or the failure to suppress it once it has been obviated, is a sign of aging. Certainly I don't remember this happening when I was younger. Although my first inclination was to be angry that my mind wasn't behaving rationally, I was shortly overcome by a feeling of pleasure in seeing that my mind is a mechanical instrument over which I do not have full control.

Then back to work.

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