The historical attention deficit

Today’s Word of the Day by dictionary.com has two definitions. One of them is just what the word sounds like, which is woolgathering,  a gathering of the tufts of wool shed by sheep and caught on bushes. This is actually the second definition. The first one is very different and it seemed like the wrong definition for the word until I realized how it came about.

A noun, woolgathering [woo l-gath-er-ing] is, and also means an indulgence in idle fancies and in daydreaming; absentmindedness. Because gathering tufts of wool was thought to be a mindless task and gatherers were caught daydreaming, this definition grew out of the literal sense. Entering the English language in the mid-1500’s, I suppose it could be considered the historical disorder of attention deficit.

I also suppose that a woolgatherer would be a person who collects the woolgatherings left by sheep. What about a person doing the indulging of fancies, would they, or could they, be called a woolgatherer as well? So a person with attention deficit disorder, could they be called an attention deficiter? Just kidding, I know this is not a word. I know that they are simply called someone who does not subtract. 😉

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My bout with my beloved boater

When you think of someone living on a boat, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What do you imagine it to look like? Under what circumstances do you suppose would precipitate a person choosing to live on a boat?

Needless to say, the idea has never appealed to me. Not even on a million dollar yacht, would I choose to live, unless the alternative was homelessness perhaps. Unless my finances were in such serious arrears (which, by the way, is today’s Word of the Day by dictionary.com) that I had no other choice, I could not see myself living on a boat. But that’s just me, or so I thought. I know someone else who says it would be living his dream.

“Wouldn’t you get lonely?” I questioned, although he’s probably the biggest “loner” I ever have met, to which he replied, “No, I’d have you with me!” “Oh really!” I exclaimed and then laughed, “You would really want me to live on a boat with you?” “Of course!” he said, “but I don’t know how you’d do. You couldn’t bring a bunch of stuff, it’s just the bare necessities on a boat.” I felt a twinge of fear at the mere thought of this and then chuckled when I thought, well, I am an all-or-nothing kind of person!

A bit later, I thought about all of the things on my never-ending to-do list. The many things I feel I need to do, the things I want to do, and the things I told others I would do, weighed heavily on my mind. Just think of how many things would be eliminated from my list if we lived on a boat, I mused to myself. Just think of how much time I would have to do all the things I want to do most in this life if we lived on a boat! My excitement surprised me.

Upon seeing today’s Word of the Day, I first thought of when it would have applied to my financial health. Thankful to no longer be in such a situation, my attention turned to the phone calls from friends I need to return, my over-grown garden, and lots of laundry. I was somewhat surprised at how feeling overwhelmed due to arrears  is the same for me, whether the cause is finances, friendships or chores.

Meaning the state of being behind or late, especially in the fulfillment of a duty, promise, obligation, or the like, the word arrears [uh-reerz] is a plural noun and, according to dictionary.com, idioms, when talking about being in arrears. So that feeling, for me, really stems from me not fulfilling an obligation, whatever it is. The solution? Well, picking up the phone is a start. Whether it is to straighten out finances or catch up with a friend, merely making the attempt eases the overwhelming feelings. Or I could just sail away with my husband.