That is me. I am Multitasker. There is conflicting research as to whether or not this is a good thing. I can see both sides to the argument, and I guess I have to look a little harder into exactly why and how I prefer doing several things at once instead of something singular.

When I was a teenager it used to irritate my parents to no end to knock on my bedroom door (they were polite like that) and find me on my bed doing homework or reading with both the TV and the radio/stereo on, and sometimes also on the phone. I would look up from my book, and the dialogue would go something like this:

Mom: You can’t get anything done like this.
Me: Oh, yes I can. This is how I work best!
Mom: It is a cacophony in here. You cannot possibly concentrate. Why must you have all this noise?
Me: I am concentrating just fine, see? (Shows page of scribbles) I get my work done. This is what I LIKE!
Mom: The TV and the radio?
Me: I hear them separately.
Mom: (Frowns, shakes head)
Me: Heh.


Dad: Jesus Christ, turn it down!
Me: (Frowns, shakes head)
Dad: I can hear this shit all the way down the hall!
Me: (Silent glare)
Dad: Hey, aren’t you supposed to be in school?
Me: (Sheepish grin)

Well, thirty years or so later I guess I have come to figure that I just have this busy kind of mind that needs a pile of crap to do. I am not a hyper person; I can sit as immobile as a 14-dollar Buddha statue from Target for hours on end. But I don’t like just doing one thing. I start to either drift from boredom or get kind of nervous and flake off. I can sometimes get terribly into one thing, like a book, but still feel more comfortable with the TV or some music playing. If I am on the computer, I have maybe ten tabs on my browser open, typically:

1. Message board
2. Diarrhea Island
3. Email
4. Google, Endless, Endless Google
5. YouTube
6. MySpace
7. ShareMiner
8. Rapidshare
10. Something shopping, music, travel, school, medical related

Stuff and things, typey type type. Oh, not to mention iTunes and Photoshop and iPhoto and Word. My computer is quite entertaining and fills up my need for WORDS AND PICTURES AND SOUNDS quite efficiently.

I find that even when I am doing stuff around the house, I need to be doing a bunch of stuff at the same time to feel properly working. Laundry, dishes, making a pot of coffee, paying bills, staring at piles of paper and wishing them away, feeding the dog, ALL NOW.

So, do I do a good job at these things, or does my multitasking diminish my efforts? Well, I think both. I do a good job, but sometimes take longer when I jump from thing to thing. It is what it is. In reality I probably do a sucky job at everything, but consistently sucky across tasks. Bah.

Here’s what else I know: when I finally go to sleep, I need DEAD QUIET, DEAD BLACK. Not too hot, not too cold, two pillows thankyouverymuch. No light no noise no nothin’. Even the light from the alarm clock is too much. Maybe that is the flipside to all the frenzy of the day – I am absolute everything, or absolute nothing. But this is generally all internal, you would never know it to see me. It is in my head, this running around and thinking and planning and thinking more and listening and watching and compiling. I have to give myself something to do do do.

I wonder how this will change when I am really old. Maybe my multitasking will consist of writing complaining cranky letters, petting the dog, making soup-for-one, calling my Bolivian grandchildren in unreasonable Spanish, watching 3D rebroadcasts of "Alternative Nation," and shaking my fist at loud morning garbage trucks. Sounds pretty sweet, really.