For many, many years I was a multi-tasker. When you work in the 911 biz, there's no other way around it; you can't even get in the door until you prove you can listen, think and type all at once.
It so happened that I could listen, think and type all at once. I could even, like all successful 911 dispatchers, answer two conversations at once, listen to the telephone and the dispatch radio at once, handle a crisis on hand and prepare for the next request at once, and even have some laughs while I was doing it. But the price I paid for this talent was that I took the multi-tasking home.
I'm not alone on this one; I know that. It's perfectly common to see someone driving and talking, eating and watching TV, or having a phone conversation while sorting bills. People do it all the time. But you know what? That kind of sucks.
Since leaving the hectic world of 911, I have begun to re-discover living in a single-task world. There is really something to be said for only doing one thing at a time.
For instance, the other day I was running errands before I picked Jordan up from school. I finished a little bit early and had about ten minutes on my hands. In the past, this would have been just the chance I needed to make a few cell phone calls, sort through stuff in my purse, or find a reason to run to the store in that sliver of time. But on this day I just parked the car and sat on the playground grass to wait for him. It was a spectacular day: September-warm, rich with the smell of cut grass and turning leaves, a light breeze playing in the trees. Birds I couldn't identify called to each other from high in the elms. After a while, I laid back on the grass and enjoyed the moment completely.
That is single tasking. It's such a relief to remember it.