The Off Button

So how does this work?

That’s my favourite and often used question whenever I’m fumbling around with a technical apparatus, like cookers or electronic devices. Even devices that I use daily – my digital TV – pose a challenge. Each time I want to turn on the digital radio or television is an adventure. (Not to mention my laptop, which seems to have a life of its own.)


Turning things off, however, is not much of a problem. I give all the buttons a try and if those fail, I just unplug the device – unplugging has never failed me.

But I’ve finally found something that I cannot turn off by pressing a button nor is unplugging a solution (that’d be kind of radical). I can’t seem to turn off my critiquing mode. It’s like a computer programme – constantly running on the background without causing difficulties until reading is involved. Then it begins to run actively, pointing out inconsistencies, red herrings and slapdash storylines.

The first time I realized I was doing this was when I was reading a book after I had just finished critiquing three stories. I figured that my critiquing mode was still running, so I put the book down and gave myself some time for it to turn off before continuing.

The book was written in an addictive style and I really wanted to know what was going to happen next, but the critiquing mode remained active. I kept noticing the kind of details you don’t want to notice when trying to enjoy a book. Especially towards the end of the last book (it was a trilogy), I faced such a sloppily finished storyline that reading the book felt like a waste of time.

On and Off

Sometimes the mode is hardly present when reading (perhaps there isn’t much to critique), while at other times I can’t help but analyse paragraph after paragraph.

Today the critiquing mode was excessively present. The book I was reading was mind-blowingly boring, that I couldn’t help myself but to make a prediction of how the story would end.

It’s tiring to not be able to switch CritquingMode.exe off.  Now and then, I’d love to read a book without having this programme run in the back of my mind, pointing things out. So if you have found the solution to my problem, please enlighten me.


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