Falling On Deaf Ears
Coming up for air after a particularly tricky puzzle, I discover that I've agreed to do the washing up this evening, to take part in a triathlon at the weekend and to visit my in-laws at Christmas. At the same time, I find that I am accused of ignoring the phone, the fleet-footed postman and the seismic tremor that has reduced our house to a heap of rubble (or was that just the consequence of an unexpected visit of my friend and her children?). It's ridiculous, it's extremely unfair, and I suspect that I am being taken advantage of, just because I enjoy Killer Sudoku.
For me, the failure to notice certain things, or the habit of making unwise commitments while otherwise absorbed, is an occupational hazard, but please don't accuse me of not listening. I'm simply experiencing a phenomenon known as 'inattentional deafness'. Researchers at University College London have revealed that being engrossed in something – like for example, a good puzzle – can render people temporarily deaf to the world around them. They say it is a common everyday experience and that the more difficult the task, the greater the level of deafness experienced.
So next time you settle down to a Killer Sudoku, make sure that you have made it perfectly clear that no agreements will be entered into until the puzzle has been solved, and make sure the likelihood of major earthquakes is small.