It Pays to Be a Space Case

Kieran Fox, a neuroscientist, says some of his colleagues see him as an “alien” because of all the time he takes off to let his mind wander.Photo Illustration by Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock

It’s a feeling we all know well—you’re at a work meeting or in the middle of a book, when you realize that you have no idea what just happened. Without noticing it, your thoughts have drifted away from you. 

Like many people, I’ve found my more than usual since March, when shelter-in-place measures destroyed what little structure I had cobbled together as a freelance writer and student. Suddenly, my tidy university office was replaced by half of a couch, my “work schedule” transformed into little more than a hypothetical idea. As I struggled to stay focused from the corner of our tiny 350-square-foot apartment, my thoughts drifted endlessly: from my work, to what to have for lunch, to whether our world was truly on the brink

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