The term had existed forever. Daydreamer, woolgatherer, stargazer. One who was blessed or burdened by mental distraction. He simply called it ‘going away’. When he drifted off, it was for an indefinite amount of time. Unlike the tempting sound of ‘fantasyland’, he wasn’t aware of anything when it happened. During those times, it was as if everything in the world ceased to be. Only later was he aware that he had been ‘absent’. It was as if the continuous video recorder of his mind was occasionally put on pause. All the while, the world continued on as Daniel drifted away.
One too many times he had been admonished by his wife for ‘tuning her out’. He was forced to admit that it did happen when others corroborated her accusations. In defense, he swore it was completely involuntary on his part. He simply couldn’t account for where his mind went during the time in question. Her insinuation was that he deliberately choose to ‘be’ elsewhere. The idea that he purposefully thought of more interesting things seriously compromised their relationship. It suggested that he didn’t care what she had to say. It was poison to them. Nothing he said could convince her otherwise. In reality, she wasn’t competing with anything or anyone for his attention and he was very loyal and attentive. Like an unattended helium balloon, he floated off from time to time.
Just as the increasingly disruptive events bothered her, they also began to bother him. Besides damaging her respect for him, the involuntary loss of awareness also seemed like a serious health risk. Unpredictable lack of cognizance could easily threaten his life. What if he drifted ‘away’ while driving? There were a million everyday actions that people engage in which would prove fatal if distracted to the point of unawareness. He decided to seek out medical studies on ADD and other afflictions related to concentration impairment. Daniel’s personal research eventually led him to a nearby university.
Some behavioral graduate students were conducting a study on attention deficit disorder and seeking interested volunteers. Daniel called and signed up for the program. He hoped for some insight into the condition and a way to possibly control it. His entry interview involved answering a lot of rudimentary questions and then a follow up session with the lead researcher. He was surprised to learn about the advanced techniques they would be using. In just a matter of minutes, he had electrodes and other medical gear applied to his forehead.
“Using high speed computerized sequencing equipment, we’ve just discovered that synaptic connections of conscious individuals communicate with a measurable bandwidth. These brainwave patterns emit a unique micro frequency for every individual! While intercepting a person’s actual thoughts is still impossible, scanning and isolating these unique frequencies could possibly allow for a certain level of personal tracking. Our aim here is to utilize this scientific breakthrough to evaluate what happens to the minds of those who daydream.”
Knowing a bit about transmission range and ultra high frequency radio bandwidth, Daniel inquired; “Does the unique frequency change on the daydreamer; or does it just shut off completely during these lapses in concentration?”
The researcher smiled at his inquisitive subject. “We do not know yet but hope to gain some concrete answers from monitoring them with the university’s satellite antenna.”
This sounds very exciting! I studied radio waves in college myself. So, what’s the frequency, Kenneth?”
“The grad student smiled at Daniel’s pun before nervously swallowing. It’s, um actually restricted bandwidth. We aren’t supposed to even monitor the ultra high waveform range it occupies because it’s used for secret government surveillance programs. We were just afraid the FCC and NSA would decline to allow it to be used for research purposes so we are doing it without official permission.”
The grad student surveyed Daniel’s face for any sign of fear or concern. By admitting what he had, he no longer had plausible deniability if Daniel turned them in to the FBI. Daniel grinned at the sordid admission. It took courage to take him into the researcher’s confidence.
“Hey, none of my business how you get results. I just want to understand why I drift off every now and then. I was hoping you guys could help me. Mums the word.”; He did his best to reassure him.