The Spur of the Moment

I don’t know if I’ve ever been a particularly spontaneous person. I’ve had moments here and there, but mostly not so much. Not an impulse buyer. Not a pick up and fly to Tahiti in the middle of a quiet Tuesday traveler. Not.

And I started out writing this because I was going to talk about my extremely mild run at spontaneity today — suddenly throwing out a dinner invitation and meeting up with a dear friend instead of heading home — but then I got distracted by “spur of the moment.”

What an odd thing to say: on the spur of the moment. And I went to The Google to find out the origin, and got this:

Spur of the moment is in the OED along with other definitions of the word “spur”. The first recorded usage was in 1801. Spur also means at haste so perhaps spur of the moment – something done impromptu or with out deliberation grew out of spur in that sense, as in a quick decision.

Something in the moment (the brief period of time when a decision is made or an action is begun) acts as a spur-an incentive, an impetus-much as the literal spurs impel a horse to go. What motivates a “spur of the moment” decision arises quickly, as opposed to long forethought.

And that’s all well and good, but Google gave me something much better. “Spur of the Moment” is, it turns out, the name of one of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone, an episode I’d only seen once but thought was really clever. In my head, it’s always been the “Face of Fear” episode, but that would have been way too heavy-handed as a title. Good thing Rod and Richard didn’t ask 18-month-old me!

“Spur of the Moment” was Season 5, episode 21, originally aired on February 21, 1964. As soon as I saw it in the search results, I set my slice-writing aside, went to Hulu and watched the episode. It holds up well enough, I guess. It’s not “The Invaders,” or “Eye of the Beholder” or anything, but it works. As was true when I saw it the first time, what really stands out for me is the repetition-with-a-twist of the opening scene. I like that shift in perspective, like using the same image to say something very different.

Ending my unplanned evening with an unplanned re-acquaintance with some classic TV. My variety of spontaneity is pretty seriously boring! But it pleases me.

Are you a “spur of the moment” kind of person? What things have you done spontaneously? Is your history with spontaneity as undramatic as mine? Do tell!



It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices!

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4 thoughts on “The Spur of the Moment

  1. I love this stream of consciousness post! I would say I’m a spontaneous person…I have booked a ticket to another country just a couple of days prior to leaving, and gone without so much as even a hotel room booked, letting the trip unfold as it would. There were bumps in the road, as you might expect, but the magic of living in the moment, spur of the moment if you will, made the trip so memorable! You should try it sometime! 🙂

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    1. Oh, that’s funny. Reading your comment made me realize I’ve done the same thing. I haven’t done it in a long time, however. That’s how I used to travel when I was in my 20s … back when I earned the reputation among my friends’ parents of being “flighty and irresponsible.” Oh my. I wonder if I’ve lost some of my spontaneity because I’ve been trying, unconsciously, to prove that I am neither of those things. Hmmm … more thinking to do.

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  2. Oh spontaneity is the spice in which the variety of my life thrives on.

    You may have been one of several friends who inspired me to blogging, but it was spur of the moment/spontaneity that made me post a full day ahead of when I “planned” to.

    It was spontaneity that made me select an unheard of business school over a more established one, but it’s where I met my future husband.

    While Dubai and Cuba were planned trips, it was spur of the moment decision to plop down my money to do the “Destination Unknown” excursion last year and it was amazing! I do recommend grabbing one of those Groupon or Flight Deal offers and take the plunge.Travel for pleasure is always its own reward.

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