Friday, November 22, 2013

You call that multi-tasking?


My husband left his breakfast dish in the sink this morning. He was in a hurry to get ready for work because he wanted to start his day early today, so the 20 seconds it would have taken to rinse his dish off and put it in the dishwasher was - you can totally understand this - out of the question.

I should make it clear that my spouse does his fair share for the most part around the house. He will wash the dishes, do laundry (folding? let's not go there), feed the animals. He also handles many things I cannot, or rather, have no interest in, learning how to handle such as plumbing or electrical stuff (that would be the technical term). So this is not going to be a husband bashing post at all. It is simply being written to point out what every woman knows.

Men can not multi-task.

They call it multi-tasking when they have a beer in one hand and the remote in the other and they can't possibly concentrate on the conversation you're trying to have with them. All right, - that is selective hearing, I'll give you that. Back to the not-multi-tasking part.

They are stretching themselves too thin if they have to pick up a tool and a bunch of rags and then have to figure out how to open the door. That's what you are there for - those moments when your life partner needs you to push the kitchen door open and let him barge through, grunting that you're in his way as you dangle shoeless inside and outside, hoping not to get pushed onto the porch (which inevitably will be wet from rain or snow or something he spilled) on his way by.

Here's the thing. If men multi-task, then women multi-multi-task.

In the same scenario, a female would have mail and a Dunkin Donuts coffee in one hand and three bags of groceries in the other, and if she was not able to use her pinky to pry open the door, she would consider using her teeth.

You know I’m right. At this moment you are reading this blog, checking your email, folding clothes, and starting dinner. Look at yourself - and get the letter opener out of your mouth.

This morning as I was feeding the blind dog and screaming cat while the other pet owner rushed around the house to get ready for his 'early' morning, I suddenly saw the whole scenario clearly. There I was trying to pry the top off a can of cat food with two fingers while holding a knife in one hand and drying off a dish with three of my fingers while attempting to open the refrigerator door with one foot.

Fine, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. But the holding the knife thing and trying to pry a can open - totally true.

The point I'm trying to make and take full credit for is that women don't know how to put things down before they take on something else - and nobody expects them to. Whenever someone in the house is yelling that they can't find socks, shoes, a brush, the kitchen table - whatever it is - the (insert mom or wife or partner here) is wandering down the hall half-dressed, pulling the lost shoe out from under the sofa, waving the socks in the air that she found (and nobody else could possibly focus on) in the basket of  unfolded clothes that's been sitting in the living room for three days, and sweeping everything off the kitchen table into a box to be gone through later.

Oh, that fateful word, later. I believe we are on box number four of "laters" - hidden somewhere behind the seldom touched far side of the sofa.

And then she would finish getting dressed, hopefully without having toothpaste spittle working its way down her bra this time.

Not that I speak from experience or anything.

It's not just this day and age either - this has been going on since the stone age. A caveman would bring home a yak or a tree and the cavewoman would be responsible for chopping up dinner (without a freezer to store it in, mind you) as well as having to sauté the vegetables. In the meantime the cavekids would have to be entertained (no cable - remember?) and you can only send them to stone age survival camp so many times.

Even as a child I was aware that my mom was a multi-tasking fiend. The rest of the family would be sitting down to dinner for ten minutes before she even got to sniff the food she had meticulously prepared. She also managed to get herself in trouble a few times due to getting a tad carried away with tasks. Take the time I came home from school and she was stuck on top of some appliance – a refrigerator or freezer, something cold that was meant to hold food and not people - at the bottom of our cellar steps. The woman has never hit five feet, so how she got on there in first place is beyond me, even with the help of a chair which had since tipped over and made a semi-graceful descent impossible. This was not the time to laugh. And yet…

Maybe we were born to do several things at once and not whine about it. Or maybe we should start whining more and see how much help we get.

I’ll figure it out later - I have to go now. The stove timer is ringing. And the dog is crossing his legs. And the cat is eating the drywall again.

Where’s my letter opener?

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