Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Age of Multitasking

I had to Google the word "multitasking" to double check whether it was hyphenated. At this moment I have six windows open. I will inevitably flip back to another tab to check something. I just got a text message from Sarah. Of course I will check it.




A few months ago my Tio came over to help D and I with moving some things. He came in sat and started to talk to me. D sat on the other couch trying to finish some work on his Ipad. My laptop say on the coffee table. We were both facing out screens.


       "So mija how is everything?" Tio asked.
 
       "Good, Tio. Hang on. I just need to post this." I said without looking up at him.


       "Man, all you guys do is stare at those screens. Why don't you put them down," he said reaching for my laptop.


       Tio was demanding my attention. My work was demanding my attention. The T.V. was on in the background.


       "Tio, just give me a minute," I snapped. "I just need to finish this."




I rushed. I posted. Three hours later I saw my typo because Tio was rushing me. He still doesn't understand that both D and I work from home much of the time. He has always had a job with shifts. Tio does not own a computer or a smart phone. He doesn't trust technology. I can't work 8-5, Tio. I tell him. I teach at different hours. I write at different hours. I... He shakes his head. Tio does not understand.




I am an adjunct professor at a community college.
I am a tutor for athletes at a large university.
I am a writer.
I am the Executive Director of local nonprofit BorderSenses.
I am an Upward Bound instructor
I am a writer.
I am a writer.


Although I think of that day with Tio often when D and I are each working across from each other on our respective couches and music and/or the T.V. buzzes in the background at 8pm at night. I know that there is not enough time in the day for us to do EVERYTHING that we need to do. I must answer emails. I must grade. I must write. I must answer emails. I must write a grant. I must write. In age where I can answer emails while waiting for the elevator I will take that moment even if research shows my productivity decreases the more tasks I add. I want to use that minute. I want to use all minutes as effectively as possible. I want...


I walked to my tutoring gig today and thought of a time before smartphoneconstantsommunitcationconnectioncomputer era and felt nostalgic and grateful at the same time. In our effort to be efficient we've lost and gained.


       "Man, all you guys do is stare at those screens."


Yes, we do. It is an effort to put them down. Many don't even make that effort. But I have my Tio's voice to remind me where many others don't. Some might laugh but D and I make a conscious effort to keep weekends, at least Sunday's sacred. We spend the day with each other and or alone/together. He reads in the hammock in our crab grass backyard and I sleep in. I wake up yawn and cook breakfast. The house smells like pancakes. I read in the living room. The house silent. The house silent.

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