Hold on to your Mickey Mouse Club ears, readers: I’m going to write about life back in the day. I can remember when we got our first television in 1953, a huge black-and-white Muntz that seemed to take forever to warm up and which threw off enough heat to warm our little Cape Cod by itself.
My parents insisted that we had to turn off the television when meal time came, and eat the meal with only ourselves as entertainment. (And we were fairly entertaining. I’m sure you know about dinnertime antics, particularly when boys were involved.) Some of the kids I went to school with talked about eating dinner in front of the set while Dinah Shore was on, but most parents we knew wouldn’t countenance such depraved behavior.
Then TV dinners came along and my parents caved and we joined the rest of the world, eating in front of the ghostly gray glow of the cathode ray tube, but not too close so we wouldn’t ruin our vision. (There’s some dispute about the origin of the term “TV dinner.” Some historians think that it was so called because it was shaped like some early televisions with the screen to the left and controls to the right. Others hold, as I’ve always heard, that it was designed to be eaten in front of the set. Wherever the name came from, this packaged semi-food had a lot to do with the death of conversation at meals).
I was thinking about multitasking when I thought about a typical lunch at our house. We have something to eat, of course, but generally the television is on and I am likely to be reading something. We manage to talk in there somewhere, and that’s important, but it’s not an intense exchange. With the lives we lead, that’s all right, but if I think about it, I have four things going on more or less at the same time: eating, talking, reading and watching. I wonder if we are driving ourselves around the bend with these incessant demands on our time and attention, most of which are self-inflicted.
I’ve been trying lately to give tasks my full time and attention, or just sitting and ostensibly doing nothing. But I’ve found some of my best ideas come during these times, including the idea for this blog. I hope you consider doing one thing at a time, and see what that does for you.