Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Multi-tasking At The Wheel

Multi-Tasking At The Wheel

KHUK KHAK, Thailand – You might be thinking this is probably some story about being run off the road on your motorbike, into the jungle, by some half-alert, semi-conscious Thai driver, cruising leisurely along ten mph under the speed limit, attuned only to his cell phone conversation, never looking into the rear-view mirror, drifting, drifting, drifting over into the bike lane as a passing attempt is made, and off you go into the jungle.

You may know of some early returns on multi-tasking research. If you’re doing more than one thing at a time, your capacity to produce top performance efficiency in each of those efforts is diminished. In other words, half-assed.

Does that mean you can’t read a magazine and have a smoke while on the toilet? I don’t know for sure. Can a person intake, digest, and eliminate all at the same time? It’s different than peyote, and also unlike feverish illness or drug-induced state when you puke and eliminate at the same time.

‘Had it comin’ out both ends,’ we would tell someone close, indicating the severity of our discomfort and approach to death. Sure, that’s multi-tasking, technically speaking. It’s your body’s way of…multi-tasking, while you’re doing something else.

And all the time you’ve got to keep that heart going and monitor things like blood sugar level and potassium and brain chemistry and respiration and blood pressure and that mosquito on the back of your upper arm and the cars backed up on the exit ramp and your speed and the radio, glance at the mirror and take note of whatever else is bouncing around in your head.

Now, that’s multi-tasking. We do it all the time, and yet, people talk about it like it was something special; “IIIIIIIIIIIII can do many things at once…half-assed.”

It’s a skill, like coming home and running into the house, tossing the keys on the couch, unloading whatever it was in your hands, answering the call, going to the fridge, let the cat out, shower, change, grab your gear, head out the door, take a few steps, turn around, go back for your water, leave the house, go back in and hunt for the keys.

Ever do anything remotely like that?

Ever go from the car, back to the house, three times?

Study said you start forgetting shit at 27. From there on, it’s downhill, even if you’re doing the mental gymnastics.

Yeah, you peak out at 27, study said.


Well, I can do ONE thing at a time, half-assed, really good. So, there.