I’m not much of a multitasker. In fact, I lack the ability to do much more than two things at any given time, too often, only one.
Sara says I’m single-minded—that I’m focused and goal-oriented. Her description is a kind characterization of someone pretty much paralyzed by anxiety in the face of having to do too much—what I consider too much—what some folks call cooking dinner.
The other night, for example, my partner had a headache, so I promised to prepare the pork chops she’d thawed in the refrigerator. She suggested that I fry some red potatoes stored in a basket by the microwave—that I might steam some broccoli, as well. Pretty simple, right?
It started off alright, at least.
I located the potatoes, washed them, removed the eyes. So far, so good—
—That is until I tried to slice the suckers evenly, to keep the pieces uniformly sized.
I tried several knives. Were the blades not sharp enough, or did I merely possess the most pathetic cutting technique this side of accidental amputation? I was flustered. I was flabbergasted. I lacked the necessary skill.
I may have said an ugly word—or two. Profanity may have been uttered.
Poor Sara—her head pounding—had to deal with me yelling how I needed help—that I was trashing the broccoli side dish—too much to do at once. Wielding a meat cleaver in one hand, a paring knife in the other, I insisted I’d be lucky to get the pork chops in the skillet with all this potato making madness.
Sara and I ended up arguing. I tried to help but morphed into a head-ache maker all my own. Frantic and frenzied potato slicing pushed this single-minded perfectionist off a culinary cliff.
But why does all of this matter?
Because you may have noticed my absence from the blogosphere, my being AWOL from what you yourself have written in recent weeks. It all boils down to this. Not only can’t I walk and talk at the same time, I can’t see and breathe simultaneously either. How dare the universe expect so much of single-minded me!
So, here’s the deal—Sara and I have something exciting on the horizon—something on which I need to focus—forget the pork chops—pitch the side dish.
What can I say? I blame it all on remnants of my mental illness—an inability to focus reduced to driven-ness, a sick insistence that I do just one thing and do it super-duper well. God knows, if you can only complete a single task, you had better do it well. Damn well—dinner notwithstanding.
While Sara thrives on the hot seat, it does little more than fry my forever-widening ass–too many fried potatoes, I suppose.
But this project has impacted everything, sometimes my writing, too often, my ability to partake of posts I know you’ve written.
I hate this about myself, but if I’ve learned one thing in recent years, it’s that I need to bank on my ability to focus on a single effort and leave all others to the multitasking half of my relationship. I do my one important part. I do it well.
To hell with all the rest. That’s why God made the Sara’s of this world. Right?
So forgive my recent absence. Forgive my failing to read the great stuff you’ve undoubtedly written—I’ve had potatoes to fry. I’ve had dinners to serve.
I promise our kitchen will be full of good smells and plenty of promise in the coming days. Stay-tuned. Pull up a stool. Here’s a heaping helping of the best, damn hash browns you’ve ever had.
A pork-chop-portioned announcement should be coming in February.
In the meantime, please be patient. The timer on my stove is buzzing. God-forbid that I let dinner burn.
What’s your strategy for managing stress? Are you good at multi-tasking? How do you and your partner divvy up duties during busy times?