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Human doings

By Debbie Ogunjobi

A robot is wired to function in a manner that is time and energy efficient. Its sole purpose is to make life easier for the owner. When it is assigned a task, it gets it done to the best of its ability and once done, it moves on to the next task or conserve its energy till the next time it is called upon.

These would have been musings that would have been saved for a nice reverie or tech gist between those with enough interest in gadgets and in an atmosphere and time conducive for such musings. Unfortunately this particularly reverie was taking place to pass the time between night and day break, on one rather frustrating night where I just could not get any sleep.

I had more than enough time to wish I was a robot whose batteries could be taken out so that any activity but rest could be enjoyed. I felt a twinge of sympathy for Michael Jackson and remembered how he had lost his life to drugs when he tried to over medicate his insomnia. I remembered a book I had read a while back where human beings were described as human doings; the idea was that we just could not be still and be fully present in any moment; we are always doing something, either mentally or physically.

Stress management is an industry that is ever growing and concerns us all at one point or the other. Stress is one of the driving factors for religion as most people crave the peace and rest that is offered by the belief that a Higher power is on their side and favourably taking charge of their destiny.

The pharmaceutical industry worldwide invests billions of dollars in the research of new drugs to combat stress and prescription drugs like Prozac, Valium, Mogadon, Serostat and countless others have become a diet for those who simply can’t get a grip on their stress levels.

Mind altering illegal drugs like heroin, fantasy and cocaine have destroyed many lives and you find people becoming dependent on the highs, they can give. I actually remember a boy that mentioned his dependence on marijuana for retentive memory during exams back in the university. While the truth of his claim could not be verified he did not do better than the rest of us that kept ourselves alert with black coffee!

Multitasking is normally a label I wear with pride and while we women like to rub it in that we are better at multitasking than men, I am beginning to see this erstwhile attribute as a vice. It simply means our attention is divided into many segments and explains why we are often quite absent minded.

It also means we worry about all things great and small, past, present and future and I really could not pin point why my mind seemed determined to run around like a hamster in a cage this particular night. I had a very selfish desire that night and it was to have a loved one seat up all night, hold my hand while I slept!!

It was the same craving I had sometime last year and it cost a friend of mine a fortune as I had to be encouraged by calls and texts as I was time zones and continents away at the time. Insomnia is not something I suffer from often thankfully and the few times I go through it I have discovered certain traits in myself that I actively dislike. The first one is that I get hungry and can be heard scavenging for food in the dead of night.

The second one is my penchant for self pity, and at those time I miss my late mother very badly; hence the desire to have someone watch over me while I slept like a baby. The last one is the paranoia that is triggered by sounds and an over active imagination. By the time I fall asleep just when the sun makes an appearance I am certain to get very little rest, the rest of the day sure to be spent very cranky and tired.

What is it about us human beings that disconnects us from the stillness of just being? I have often fantasised about children having a pause button so that one can just press it when they won’t stop talking or scattering the house. In the course of that very long night, I not only wanted a pause button, I wondered whether it would not have been just as effective to have batteries that could be taken out while I shut down for a few hours.

I did try meditation and prayer but would you believe I was too tired to focus? I haven’t figured out the sure remedy to be a human being instead of a human doing but I am going to try the holistic approach. That means a cup of freshly extracted bitter leaf juice twice a day (yuck!!), possibly a colonic irrigation and a massage to boot. At this rate all bets are off!!


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