Two Things At Once

Written By: Michelle  Murphy



By Michelle Murphy



Yesterday I lost my American Express card.  My husband tells me this is a direct result of one of my major failings.  I try to do too much.  Actually, I hear this from many people, not just from him.  There is some truth in this sly criticism, which comes cloaked in admiration.  However, as ambitious as I may sound, I am a secret slacker.  The thing of it is though, even when I am slacking off, I still manage to do two things at once.  Just to ease the guilt of wasted time.  Like when watching a movie from TCM (Turner Classic Movies for the uninitiated too –busy- for- TV kind of folk. You can go now.) Of course, I Tee Vo everything.  It’s the best invention ever. One can just FF (“Fast Forward”, and not what you might be thinking, a fast and forward type of person, not at all, it is a tech term, for the I -never –watch- TV -types….you can also go now) I Tee Vo through commercials and save tons of time.  I may have to be re-thinking this particular time saving strategy, since the televised ads are often better than the shows they so rudely interrupt.

So when I am supposedly slacking off in front of the boob tube, I‘m nine times out of ten, doing something quite productive as well.  Some of my recent chores have been polishing silver, folding tee shirts, and trying to pair socks.  This is all best done in bed, under the quilt with tea.

And here’s another thing, which is rather along the same lines. I resisted pumping my own gas for the longest time. I was an anachronistic hold out.  I’ll readily admit it was the slacker in me.  My generation of women just did not pump their own gas.  In our defense, we accomplished many other tasks while the gas was professionally pumped by the uniformed -and -oh –so- polite attendant.  He also, by the way, washed our windows, and dutifully checked our oil.  Meanwhile, we accomplished a great deal. We filed nails, read the paper, applied lipstick, and possibly cleaned the glove compartment.  It was time well used.

Pumping one’s own gas is initially a rather intimidating task, not to mention a dangerous one.  Have you read of the warnings about cell phones and spontaneous combustion at the pump? I keep my cell phone turned off and stashed away, so as to prevent accidental injury or even death.  As you have by now gathered, I finally succumbed to gas pumping, and window cleaning, and eventually got the hang of it. More or less. A girl soon didn’t have much choice if she wanted to be on the go.  So, I added this ability to my repertoire, along with the highly useful “copy-and-paste” skill, not to mention “text-messaging”. Now, along with my fellow DIY gas pumpers I bask in a sense of accomplishment each time I drive away full from the Wainscot Hess station.

But let’s go back to my slacker ways. I have a tendency to let the gas-meter get down to flashing “15 miles”.  The old Jackson Brown song “ Running on Empty” comes to mind, keeping me company as I cheerily hum along so as not to feel like a complete loser. Jacksonhas always been a cool kind of guy.  Apparently he’s been there enough to write a song about our type, and seems proud of it.  He wears it well and promotes a sense of well being in the rest of us.

So as to make my new task more pleasant, and to soften the blow of the astounding amount of dough necessary to fill the tank of my swanky jalopy, I have devised my own system. Yes, you’ve got it.  I do two-things-at-once by filling my tank and my head at the same time. By lowering the back left window, and blaring my Bose unit, I listen to books-on-tape .  Voila. The time passes quickly.  By the way, like a bigamist, I always have three different BOT (short for, you know….) going at all times: one in the car, one by the bath tub, and one in my studio. All of this, lest I ever lose my pace (fast) and find myself not doing two-things-at-once.