A short attention span and an inability to multitask are a dangerous combination.
I learned this the hard way on Tuesday. Midway through our weekly Teams marketing meeting, J. started talking about something and I zoned out for a few minutes. To be fair, I was responding to a work-related email. It’s not like I was scrolling through Instagram or trying to figure out Wordle. I assumed that portion of the meeting had nothing to do with me, so imagine my surprise when my boss jolted me back to reality by saying, “Do you have any questions about this project, Mark?”
As a matter of fact, I had plenty. Like, what is this project you were talking about and how am I involved? But I couldn’t say that, because doing so would be admitting I hadn’t been paying attention. Instead, without missing a beat, I responded, “Nope!”
And then spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out how to extricate myself from this #workfail.
I should know better. Whenever we watch TV, Tara is constantly scrolling through her phone…and yet, she is still able to keep up with most of what is taking place onscreen. I’m the exact opposite. If I so much as glance at the clock, I’ll have to back up the program 30 seconds because I’ve missed a key portion of dialogue. For some reason, I find it completely impossible to concentrate on two things at once.
This is why I’m not an air traffic controller. I’d turn away for three seconds to sneeze and there’d be a midair collision over St. Louis.
Fortunately, my job does not involve monitoring and directing the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances between them and ensure hundreds of passengers, crew, and innocent bystanders don’t die. If I mess up at work, I might conjugate a verb improperly. The consequences aren’t nearly as dire.
I shouldn’t beat myself up too badly. They say a goldfish has a longer attention span than a human.
Still, at the end of the meeting, I asked my boss if she could stay on for an extra minute while I ran something past her. Namely, the five-minute gap in my knowledge. Embarrassing? Well, it wasn’t my finest moment, but sometimes you’ve just gotta rip that Band Aid off and ‘fess up. I told her I’d been momentarily distracted but had gotten the gist of what J. had said and wondered if she could reiterate the key points to ensure we were all on the same page as far as this mystery project was concerned, ha.
That was some damn fine verbal wordsmithing if I do say so myself.
Lesson learned, folks. Keep me away from anything even remotely shiny.
This fun Facebook memory popped up today.
Alas, I did not buy this lovely piece of artwork. And have regretted that decision every day of my life since.
Here’s the deal: Tara was still living in Nevada at the time. She would be moving to Washington to live with me in a few weeks, and I wanted to add a touch of class to my townhouse. After all, women love art, right? I’d gone strolling down Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, one of my favorite haunts, and stumbled upon this glorious velvet tapestry in a vintage store. I was so excited over my discovery, I took a photo and texted her on the spot.
Do we want a dogs playing poker tapestry?? I wrote. I’m dead serious…
Much to my dismay, Tara wasn’t nearly as keen on that dogs playing poker tapestry as I was. There was more to our conversation beyond her initial Um…no response, which you can read about here if you’re interested. The bottom line is, though it broke my heart, I walked away empty-handed. I figured I didn’t want our impending cohabitation to start out on a rocky note.
That didn’t stop me from blogging about it, of course. Tara’s comment from 840 miles away was both sweet and sassy. Which pretty much sums her up.
Sweetie, had I known you were so in love with the damn thing, I would’ve told you to get it. And then over the course of a few weeks and several re-arranging of wall hangings…it could have ended up in the garage.
Ironically, Tara soon had a change of heart and admitted the tapestry would have perfectly complemented our kitschy ’70s vibe. By then, the vintage store had long since sold it. Still, every time we returned — which was pretty often over the next six years — we searched in vain for another one.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
Seeing the memory on my Facebook account today just ripped open that wound. A decade later, my sense of loss is still strong.
I shall persevere though.
On a related note, I can’t believe we are fast approaching our 10th anniversary of living together. April 14 is going to demand a special blog post. I’ll have to get Tara to contribute, too.
Maybe she can issue a public apology for turning away those poker-playing dogs.