Not Wired to Multi-task

by Sherri Kukla

Anything the guy-inthe-garage needs while I’m on deadline is never too much to ask.

Today for instance. Just a few pages away from being done, he’s caught up with proofreading and heads down to his shop.

I’m hard at work.

My phone rings. A call from his shop.

“Did I leave my glass of Mountain Dew up there?”

Sure enough, there it is. Ice cold. Refreshing. Mountain Dew.

“Yep, it’s here.”

There is a pause. Then “I knew I left it up there.” Another pause. You can tell, this is a big challenge. What to do? He’s at the shop working on a customer’s motorcycle and his Mountain Dew is at the house. He’s thirsty. Needs that liquid refreshment. That pick-me-up the Dew provides.

Still the pause. So I finally say, “Do you want me to bring it down?”

He comes to life. “Hey yeah! That will be a good chance for you to take a break!”

Over the weekend my office was lively with the guy-in-the-garage sending emails and the 9-year-old granddaughter at my side trying to solve a Nancy Drew mystery on the other computer at my desk.

I’m working. Editing articles. Designing layouts. Writing picture captions while at the same time telling the guy-in-the-garage how to spell words for his email. The granddaughter is frustrated with the mystery and needs assistance, which I try to offer all while editing and designing.

Just another day at the office.

But when time comes for the guy-in-the-garage to go back to proofreading, the world comes to a stop.

Music turned off, phone calls taken in another room and no one can talk. All of life for, say a square mile, must be silent. Because he can’t concentrate if there is noise while he’s proofreading.

I often wonder if he ever sees the irony of what goes on in the office while I’m working compared to when he is working.

It’s not that the guyin-the-garage has no respect for my work it’s more likely because this is how we’ve rolled all these years and maybe it never occurs to him its fairly difficult for me to concentrate on so many things at once, but I just do it.

He just isn’t wired to multi-task.

Recently while on another deadline, the guy-inthe-garage, motivated by some truck parts that were waiting for him in town, offered to do the grocery shopping so I could keep pounding out the pages.

Some of the stores on that route needed to be restocked with our magazines, I mentioned.

“No problem,” he said, “make a list.”

I helped get him ready. Bank deposit, cell phone, debit card, cash and list.

“Do you have the ice chests and the gas can?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said calmly as he headed out the door. And then while I was rushing out the door with the cold drink he forgot, I did the unthinkable. I added one more task.

If you’ve ever seen the post office scene in “The Grinch” when Cindy Lou says, “Thank you for saving me,” you’ll know what happened. I’m sure I heard the dirt screeching he stopped so quickly and turned around to glare at me.

This guy who spends hours fabricating one tiny part for a motorcycle gets totally overwhelmed at doing more than five or six errands in a day.

So I smiled, waved good-bye and assured him that “yes, your cell phone is turned on.”

Don’t want to overwhelm the guy because now it appears that almost anything I need while on deadline is also not too much to ask.

Sherri Kukla is the editor and co-publisher of S&S Off Road Magazine. She along with her husband, the guy-inthe-garage, are also the founders and directors of Thundering Trails off road camp for inner city kids in Southern California. She can be reached at ssormag@gmail.com or www.ssorm.com.

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