When my husband is on the phone, that’s it: He is just on the phone. He is not emptying the dishwasher. He is not cooking dinner. He is not answering e-mails while simultaneously shouting out the back window, “Don’t play soccer in the mud in your brand new sneakers!” It’s just him and his phone, and it looks so peaceful. Essentially useless, but peaceful. I want me some of that.
I am forever doing several things at once while not concentrating on any one of them for very long. And Twitter and Facebook only feed my addiction to multi-tasking because when my attention span runs out shortly after writing the verb or getting out the mop or — Oooh! There’s a sale at Lands End today.
Um, where was I?
Oh yeah. Social media sucks me in. So does The New York Times, a blog about who got canned on American Idol last night, the pile of clothes on top of the dryer and darn it, I forgot to promote tomorrow’s Freebie Friday prize….
There, done. Where was I again?
Some of it is self diagnosed ADD, but I suspect that I’m not the only mom who manages to do (too) many things at once. This is why we were made to be gatherers, while men were born to be hunters. For instance, when my sons look into the fridge for cheese to put on their sandwiches, they keep their heads rigidly forward. If they don’t see the cheese, they shout, “Mom where is the cheese?” instead of tilting their heads ever so slightly to the right, where they would indeed spot the cheese.
They are hunters, focusing in on the saber-toothed tiger so they don’t get killed. But we are gatherers, picking the berries and collecting the water and drying out the saber-toothed tiger skins while keeping the children from getting killed. That’s why I can find the cheese, but my husband sits in a chair and talks on the phone while staring into the distance. We were born this way. It’s nature.
But the males in my house seem to be able to continue to focus just like their ancestors did, while my gathering has gotten completely out of control, thanks to technology. I don’t just gather dinner. I gather information from way too many sources, all at once, while doing way too many things involving everything from finding the shin guards to mass e-mailing the news of cuts to our school system’s music program — which I did while writing this blog. And it almost became a big, big problem this past weekend…
At a writer’s conference in New York City, the hotel supplied lotion that smelled like coconut, which I didn’t like. I was balancing my Starbucks green tea latte and apple muffin while attempting to tweet: “Jen Singer thinks that hotels should hand out coconut-scented lotions only if they are near the beach” followed by a joke about appearing in a Coppertone ad. Only, my Blackberry, which automatically fills in words for you, didn’t want to go with coconut. Also, the BACKSPACE button is dangerously close to the ENTER button, so if you are trying to do too many things at onceyou just might accidentally tweet something you didn’t intend to. I know. I have done that. And this weekend, I darn near almost broadcasted to thousands of people:
“Jen Singer thinks that hotels should hand out cocaine.”
But for a split second that felt like eons, I put down the latte and the muffin, ignored the many shiny things around me vying for my attention and ever so carefully hit the BACKSPACE button until I had erased “cocaine,” and then just as carefully, typed in “coconut” and finished the tweet without a hitch. Or a snort. And you know what? It felt good to focus, if only for a moment.
So, today, I vow to just talk on the phone at least once. No making a move in Lexulous at the same time, or getting packages ready for the post office or emptying the dishwasher. Just me and my phone, useless but peaceful.
Now, where was I?
Share, share, that’s fair: How is it in your home? Hunters and gatherers? Tweeters and Sitters? Tell us.