When’s the last time you had a long thought? I remember having thoughts that stretched on for hours as I worked through basic physics problems or wrote my first lesson on regular expressions or read Guards! Guards! for the first time.

It’s been a while, though. These days, it’s rare for me to think about anything for more than five minutes at a time. Some of it is the intellectual laziness that comes with being comfortably middle-aged, but some of it is conditioning: I have spent most of the last ten years fighting fires one frantic email thread at a time, and reading the news 140 characters at a time, and in doing so, I’ve trained myself to switch tasks every few hundred seconds.

I’m trying to undo that now—failing so far, but trying. But I’m curious: when’s the last time you had a long thought, and what was it?