Not the Flash!

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So, I forgot it takes 25 minutes to get 2.9 miles in rush hour. And it was dark. And RAINING! It never rains. Maybe it was because of the lightning, but Siri malfunctioned. These are her instructions:

Make a left. Then left again. Now make a U-Turn.

She took me into a parking lot. Oh, my god, she’s a lunatic! What kind of directions are these?

I don’t do lost well, especially when it’s dark. And raining. I wasn’t necessarily in brand new area, but one what that always confuses me and I haven’t been there in a long time. Now, I remember why. It’s a maddening place to be lost in. You know those intersections that branch off into six different directions but there are no turns. If you miss the veer right and quick to the right again, you’re screwed. That’s the first thing that happened.

By the time, I got myself turned around after several lefts and U-turns, I have the right street but I turn the wrong direction.

I nearly got myself killed in the process on this dark, stormy night. I was the deer in headlights. Lots of headlights. The road splits and I felt like I was facing ongoing traffic, so turned around and disoriented. In the middle of the intersection, I see a whole mess of cars with headlights pointed at me and above me, the red light! I have no choice but to go through. What else can I do? I see the Flash. No, not the DC character. The camera. It flashed!

The aftermath. I’m 30 minutes late to my first day at a job. My boss, “Why are you late again?”

My first $456 will go the ticket. Oh, please, please, not a ticket! Maybe they’ll notice the look of desperate horror on my face, and tear it up. Not likely.

It’s funny. What’s a few minutes late? Ten minutes, okay maybe 30 minutes. When you’re late, it truly seems like the worst thing in the world even though as it’s happening you coach yourself, talk yourself up, tell yourself you’ll get there and no matter what, it’s still better than dying.

What’s your late story? I want to hear all about it.

photo credit: Electrostatic Discharge via photopin (license)

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The Myth of Multitasking

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Multitasking is a catch-all word that signifies success, adaptability and, above all, is a common descriptor on hopeful job applicants’ resumes. Friends, do you want the truth?

Our brains don’t like to multitask. In fact, they hate it and reject it. They’re simply not wired to behave in such a manner. 

Research shows that humans can only think about four things at once. And if you think you are multitasking oh so successfully, chances are you’re just not. You just spilled your coffee while you looked at that guy crossing the hall, checked an email, mistyping a word and meanwhile, while trying to hold a conversation on the phone, you didn’t hear the last two sentences. You look busy and productive, sure. How is this really going?

It’s impossible to multitask. Your brain will accommodate multiple requests by doing what’s called “spotlights.”  At most, the brain may dual-task, and divides and conquers to complete those two tasks. But two complex tasks are the limit. If you add a third task, the prefrontal cortex will simply discard one of the tasks. It’s no dummy. The results show that the brain has only two hemispheres available for task management and can only take two tasks at a time. Simply put, it needs both hemispheres to successfully complete a task.

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Unless you have superpowers and several arms…well, humans are just not equipped to multitask.

As further evidence, I kid you not, while writing this post I attempted to cook dinner and burned it. Oh, what a bumble! Personally, I know that I am drained when I take on too many tasks and it usually takes me longer to complete any one task. There’s research on that, too.

Multitasking is regarded as a badge of honor by today’s youth and likely encouraged as the new “norm” by their peers. A study out of Stanford identified two separate groups, “heavy media multitaskers” (HMMs) and “light media multitaskers” (LMMs). Both groups were asked to decipher relevant information from the environment and irrelevant information based on memory, all the while switching their tasks. You guessed it, the heavy group did worse. What’s more, those who multitask actually think they’re great at it!

While attempting to do a task, I’m convinced the mind can think about a whole host of things completely unrelated to the task at hand. My yoga teacher suggests that you can think about 13 things at once and I believe her, but often it feels like much more than that. Do you have moments when you feel your brain might explode with too many thoughts flying around?

Here’s a test. Next time you feel overtaxed with too many thoughts, write them down in a list. No need to make them perfect, just them out of your head and on paper. 

Actually writing them down will slow your thinking, but what’s more, you’ll see you may not really be thinking of as many things as you feel. It’s more likely that anxiety is playing a role. It likes to get in the way. Anxiety is very bossy and is also responsible for shallow breathing and irrational thinking.

So, okay the simple solution must be to think and do one thing at a time, right? It turns out, people may have more trouble with that one. I have some ideas about this. Tune in next week, when I talk about my new passion. Breathing on purpose.

In the meantime, if things seem a little harried, stop and check in. Give yourself grace. You’re just human, after all.

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Those Dishes Were Clean

Good day! It’s Bumble Tuesday. Of course, a Bumble can happen any day of the week. Today just happens to be Tuesday…

For today’s Bumble I will begin with some background. Walking Dead fans out there may recall this scene from season 4 (and if I’m spoiling anything for anyone, please just plug your ears?).

Remember this scene from The Walking Dead when Beth and Daryl go to the country clubhouse together, and Beth desperately wants to try her first alcoholic beverage ever before she dies? If you watch the show you know that anyone can die at anytime. Don’t get too attached to those characters. Beth finds peach schnapps and looks for a glass, among the carnage, the zombies, the blood and the guts. You know, the usual. While I watched her, all I was thinking was that Beth was not going to find a clean cup! And those cups she handled were disgusting.

Just so you know, cleanliness is important to me.

And now on to my Bumble…

I’m sure you all know this scenario. The dishwasher is open, filled with dishes that look practically clean. Practically, right? An instinct kicks in that has me second-guessing their status of clean or dirty. So, I turn over a few cups and dishes, and decide that yes, indeed, they’re perfectly clean.

I begin to unload the dishwasher and return dishes, cups, and silverware to their rightful place in the kitchen, but I am interrupted.

Stage Left: Enter child requesting and demanding milk.

Child: Mommy, I need milk.

A glass of milk is provided.

Child:  Mommy, this glass looks dirty. There’s spots…or water…Look!

Mom: It looks fine. It just came of the dishwasher. It’s clean.

Child exits, disgruntled, but gulping the milk.

Downstage Right: Husband saunters into kitchen.

Husband: Those dishes are dirty.

Me: Those dishes were clean. Twenty seconds ago. No, really. I checked—

But I have to double-check now. I turn over a few dishes in the cupboard, and the second dish I observe is stained with a food substance resembling chili.

Friends, this is what my dishwasher looked like when this happened:

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Right?

Okay, okay, I can’t fool you. These are clean. I’m not going to show you guys dirty dishes. Yucky! Would I subject you to that? Just know they practically looked like this.

I turned over the wrong dish in my dish analysis is all.

So, now I realize I gave my poor son a dirty glass. He was right all along. Additionally, I’m experiencing that limbo of not knowing what is clean and what is dirty in my kitchen, and that I must wash everything. Everything! I try not to panic.

Me (to Husband): Should I get a new glass of milk for our child?

Husband: He’s okay. (reading paper)

Me: No, we don’t want to waste his precious milk.

Stage left: Son enters with empty glass.

Child: More milk, please.

I refill his milk…in a new, clean glass. Of course, I did!

Do you drink out of dirty glasses? Have you ever eaten off dirty dishes and not known beforehand? What did you do? Have you ever been to a dinner party where they served food on dirty dishes? I sure hope not!

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Chick Moments

I’m calling Chick Moments things that don’t happen to guys. So guys, if I haven’t already turned away, you might want to stay and have a peek into the inner workings of a chick moment. There’s nothing wrong with getting in touch with your feminine side. Gals, you can let me know if any of this rings true.

Have you ever found yourself in a circle of women discussing the “chick” topics: purses, shoes, hair, manicures, pedicures, etc. I think we all have. This is the scene: Women gather, pheromones blend into the perfect formation, and a chick connection is made. Sassy Queen Estrogen flies in and makes her presence, taking notes on hair styles and makeup.

Can you tell I don’t like this? And, yet, I participate with the best of them. It’s as if the pheromonal air is acting as glue, holding the circle in one cohesive unit. Sometimes I feel that I almost can’t leave, and if I want to leave, I need to run. No bolt. I find myself commenting when actually I don’t care that much. Now let me pause for a moment. If it’s a close friend who asks for my opinion on something personal, this is a completely different story.

It’s the mindless bantering, chit-chattering about purses and shoes. Admittedly, I’ve never been much of a shopper. Shopping to me is usually about finding a specific item for a particular purpose within a confined budget. This is more of an assignment really. Shopping is only fun when you have money to burn and don’t need anything. This never happens. Still, if I had extra money, I probably still wouldn’t enjoy it. I’d prefer to be given clothes that fit perfectly and look great on me. I guess, who wouldn’t?

Purses and shoes are one thing, but it’s hair….hair color, hair styles, hair length…this is where there is more common ground. The chit chat about hair, indeed, surfaces.  The worst thing that can happen is if you make a noticeable change to your hair, and you get NO RESPONSE.

Case in point. Get ready for a disastrous Bumble. Once, in the process of getting my hair colored, the hairdresser said to me, “I’m just following your file here,” as she poured color or toner (or what?!) all over my hair.

Panic sets in. Was she kidding me? “File?” I ask. “I’ve never had my hair colored here before.”

She stopped with the chemicals. “Are you sure?” Is she doubting me? Mind you, we did have the pre-color talk. We already agreed on the color and the direction we were going. I guess that went out the window with evidence of the file.

After she rinsed out the chemicals, she promptly grabbed more bottles of toner (I think) and she poured them all over my head; rinsing, more pouring, more rinsing. My head felt raw.

The moment arrived on the chair in front of the mirror. How bad was it? She pulled off the towel, and all I could say was, “Oh, oh, wow…it’s, uh, brassy.”  Inside I was screaming, What did she fucking do to my hair? Why me? Why, oh why? The color was like the brassy gold of a door knob, with tinges of orange. I wasn’t going for the chic, Cindy Lauper. I couldn’t pull that off even if I wanted to.

But at that point, I pretended I was looking at someone else in the mirror. Who was that strange girl? Then denial set in. It won’t be that bad once she blow dries my hair. It will lighten up and with a few shampoos, indeed, it will tone down. Sure. I was in shock and actually paid for the color.

I was promptly taken back to reality when I arrived on school grounds to retrieve my children. Certainly, my female acquaintances noticed. Sure they did. I got the big NOTHING. I got the glances and the head turning in the opposite direction, or my favorite, the flat out stare directly into my eyes and then ZILCH.

Honestly, I should have worn a hat. The following week, I got, “You colored your hair,” and then NADA. They collectively knew they could not fake this.

You could say I’m out of the blond phase. As this happened a few years ago the brass has been replaced by my more natural brown tones. You can always fix hair. That’s a good thing.

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The High-Priced Bumble and Where’s my Upgrade Already?

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July is the month I’m supposed to get my new phone, an upgrade from my current flip phone. You may recall this from my previous post.

My husband managed to take my last two upgrades for a new phone. That’s right. The last two. I’m scratching my head as I type this, wondering how this came to pass. Moments like this make my mind go a little fuzzy. He must have spiked my coffee with something or dosed me with a happy pill to get away with this one. Twice he did it.

“Sure, honey. Take it. You need the upgrade more than me.” Did I say that?

This first time he took my upgrade, he just wanted a new phone. That’s all. He didn’t need it. He had a workable, Razor flip phone.

Second time. Here’s where he really blew it. I put this is the high-priced bumble category.*

My husband decided to leave his precious iPhone, the phone he can’t possibly be a part from for more than minutes at a time, on top of the car. He drove off, and what do you know, the phone fell off the car. What does he do? He backs up and rolls right over it and smashes it to smithereens. Yes, the high-priced bumble!  Nice. Well done. Brilliant.

I was due to use my upgrade at that particular time. I was only convinced that he use mine because our grand scheme was that I would be taking his upgrade later, in just a few months. Ah, he didn’t have any phone at all. I was feeling sympathetic at the time, I guess. He gets to have another iPhone. Fine, fine, I was due soon. Right?

When his upgrade month finally comes up, we go to the AT&T and while I’m waiting, I pick out my newly upgraded smartphone.

It’s my turn to talk to the person with the computer, and he tells me, “No. It’s not possible for you to have his upgrade, because you currently do not have a data plan on your phone.”

“What do you mean, not possible? Of course, it’s possible. I’m here, the phone is here. Just check that little box on your computer and make it possible!” Don’t they know I lost my last two upgrades?

What the hell? In moments like this, the planets must not be aligned properly.  I can buy a phone and have a data plan and owe more money every month. Isn’t that what they ultimately want? Does this make any sense to anyone? I throw up my hands on this.

I’m forced to make good with my flip phone for another year. Meanwhile, my husband tells me to “embrace technology.” ( I really didn’t plan my last post to link. I swear. This is what husband tells me all the time, while he tweets away on his precious.)

Now it’s my turn for a smart-ish phone. Will this change my life? Will it become my new best friend?

Consider the perks. My text conversations will appear in a cute little bubble format? I can use WI-FI connections everywhere, plug in and tune out, no matter where I am. My son will steal my phone and play the latest video games. I can access information and place calls immediately? I can take pictures if I forget my camera and take a picture/video and send it out to my social network in a flash? I can buy apps and never use them. I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t had the privilege of learning yet.

I may never need to write anything down again. I may never need to remember another thing?  My contacts, my appointments, my calendar, everything in a glossy, slender box. Hmm. I’m not sure a gadget is ready for all that responsibility.

But do I want a smartphone? You bet. Besides, it’s part of my upgrade. How can I refuse? If I don’t, someone else will take it….

* Anything over $100.

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