I’ve been in need of some new clothes lately, so I’ve been getting on that. I found a perfect pair of pants except they’re made for someone taller than me. Story of my life. However, I’m getting to the point where cuffing just isn’t going to work if I’m trying to look halfway professional. So I got out the sewing kit and started hemming. As I did that — just sat in one place and measured twice and pinned and cut thread and threaded needles and sewed — I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve done one thing at a time.
I complained at the library conference last week that the free wifi was worse than no wifi at all because it was oversubscribed, so you could really only do one Internet-thing at a time. I no longer knew how to do that. As soon as I’d open a tab or try to IM someone or even click a link to open in another window, I’d get booted by the network and remember “oh yeah one thing at a time…” It’s worth remembering. While I truly believe that the cell-phone-while-driving contingent isn’t paying enough attention to the road, I do drive and listen to the radio, or read and eat, or fly and watch a movie. There’s a media aspect to all of this that isn’t really present if you’re, say, walking and singing. Or swimming and thinking. Or eating and laughing, mouth open and all.
I know the difference. I’m not trying to draw weird fake-o conclusions about “OMG technlogy convergence made me impolite!” but I notice how getting things done [not Getting Things Done, lord help me] often involves this sort of media-lumping to get more done faster. Which is great if what you’re saving time for is pie, or time with friends, or a good book before bed, or the river. I just spent a lot of time with this artificial throttle when I was already in hyper-productivity away-from-home mode and resent that my lack of multitaskability made me come home with a few things left undone in the internetto-blogoland. On the other hand, last night I listened to the radio and hemmed my pants, and looked out the window, and listened to the rain, and heard my nemesis the mouse invade the downstairs and it didn’t really seem like multitasking at all.