My Neighbour Errol: Attention
Having Errol as a creative partner has its benefits. He’s got a good sense of humour. He is a fountain of awesome ideas.
But then there’s also some rather frustrating sides to the deal. And no, I’m not just talking about the fake butt pictures.
You see, Errol has many other creative partners. Including a band which eats about 80% of his time. And a full time job. And a family who occasionally needs him around. And…
Well, you get the picture.
As a result, Errol is not always easy to get a hold of. And even when you do, holding his attention on anything for more than five minutes is difficult at best.
There is a particular process I have found is consistent in attempting to wrangle the elusive Errol brain. Everyone who I ask has gone through much the same routine:
1. Ask him in person
At first I thought I would simply ask him for something in person: Worst. Idea. Ever. The average Errol has a short term memory of about 5 seconds.
Case in point:
Errol: Manpans, can you count these cards?
Me: Sure (five minutes later) 136.
Errol: 136 what?
Errol: Cards? OH, business cards. Right…how many?
Errol: Cool, remember that for me!
Errol’s daughter: Why do you have to remember them?
Me: Because he’s going to forget.
Errol: (messaging Debs) So…122 cards….
The same goes for hang-outs, projects, meetings and needing to borrow anything. Unless you remind him to pick something up two seconds before he is supposed to, he will forget.
So how to do better?
2. E-mail him
Well, the next logical step would be to write an e-mail, right? It is a more permanent form of communication…Well, sort of.
Here’s a little known fact about Errol. He doesn’t read e-mails. OH, he will receive it. He will put all sorts of helpful labels on it. But he won’t read it, particularly if it’s more than one sentence long. Our conversastions usually go as follows:
Me: Did you get my e-mail?
Me: So what do you think?
Errol: About what?
Me: About my idea.
Errol: I’m in!
Me:…Did you read the e-mail?
Errol: Oh, did I need to?
This inevitably leads to…
3. Try to get him to read his e-mails
I have tried in vain to get Errol’s wandering eyes to fixate on something other than his twitter feed. I tried putting “ERROL, READ THIS PART” in big bold letters within the e-mail. Alas, it was two paragraphs in which is far too long for Errol to commit to reading.
I tried putting “Seriously, read this e-mail” in the subject line. But then I run into the same problem as telling him in person. Errol will read the e-mail, comment on it, and then forget it ever existed.
Errol isn’t stupid. Nor does he lack focus when it comes to things like writing a song or making stop motion animation (seriously, this is his).
But when it comes to communication, the man is worse than the guy from Memento.
It’s not completely his fault. As I said, he has a lot on the go. But it also takes a lot of energy to constantly remind Fishbrain that he has e-mails to read and appointments to keep.
And even if he does read it, it doesn’t take long for something shiny, whether it’s a meme on the internet or a plate of wings, to make him lose interest in whatever conversation you are trying to engage him in.
The sheer amount of effort and failure that occurs can leave one hanging their head in despair. This leads of course to the last desperate attempt…
4. Get Creative
About the only thing Errol CAN focus more than anything in the world is Terraria. And so, in a somewhat desperate attempt to get his attention on a regular basis, I have left him the ultimate reminder.
Does it say what e-mail he has to read? No. It only reminds him that he should read an e-mail. And if it happens to be mine, as I sit there unable to finish a project or make a decision until I get his input, so much the better.
Unfortunately, in Terraria, Errol does nothing but mine. So…he might not see this message at all…what with it being in the sky…
5. Appeal to his narcissism
These are the only blog posts Errol reads. So, Errol….READ YOUR E-MAIL! AND DON’T FORGET THAT THING YOU HAVE TO DO! AND CHECK YOUR CALENDAR FOR CRAP’S SAKE IT’S NOT THAT HARD!
Ahem…here’s hoping, world. Here’s hoping.