The Norman Transcript

January 29, 2014

Pay attention

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Are you easily distracted yet feel compelled to multitask? Do minor mishaps tend to follow in your wake?

Perhaps if you force yourself to do one thing at a time and give said task your full attention, the mishaps might be few and far between. However, if you enjoy the constant drama of dealing with one problem after another, please ignore the suggestion.

Mind you, not all accidents are tragic. Usually, they are embarrassing.

Consider the episode of the chatty relative. Some people can talk and attend to simple tasks at the same time, but not always as this charming and funny lady discovered.

Since the occasion was a large family gathering at our home, we brought out the big coffee pot. This particular Cuisinart holds 12 cups in its reservoir and once the coffee is brewed, you place a cup under the spout and push down on the bar.

As with any gadget, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, center the cup under the spout. Second, when you push down on the bar, you must keep an eye on the cup and be prepared to stop pressing the bar when the cup is full.

Chatty was laughing and talking with Hubby as she put her cup in approximately the correct spot. As she pressed the bar, most of her attention was on Hubby and their conversation.

“Whaaaaa!” she exclaimed, jerking her hand back from the hot liquid as coffee spilled over the rim of the cup, flooding the counter and the floor.

Numerous paper towels gave up their lives to tidy up the aromatic mess that seemed to spread faster than the cleanup crew could handle. Chatty was mortified and apologetic, but my stomach clenched as I tried to contain the laughter bubbling up inside me.

Then chatty relative number 2 decided to move the crystal candy jar out of the children’s reach. She put it on top of the refrigerator, but did not notice the ledge. The jar tipped and shattered on the floor. Her shocked expression was priceless.

But there was no containing my merriment the other morning when Hubby had his inattentive encounter with the Keurig coffeemaker.

We were discussing the political ramifications of stockpiled navel lint or something equally earth shattering when he positioned his cup under the spout and pressed down on the lever. Then he looked at me and winced.

“I don’t think I changed out the coffee module.”

“You’ll know by the color of the coffee.”

He leaned over and looked at the contents of the cup. “It’s very pale.”

Then the dam burst. The coffee-fall spilled out of the cup and onto the counter. It seems he still had coffee in his cup when he attempted the refill.

“Hurry! Get something to wipe this up before the coffee flows on the floor,” he said, trying to stem the spreading flow with his bare hands.

She laughed and grabbed several dish rags and began the mop up job. No use getting upset about the mess, besides coffee smells good. Their laughter filled the kitchen. Boisterous laughter is a great way to start the day.

In spite of the funny consequences, one should pay attention to the task at hand, but sometimes focusing too hard can be a problem as well.

My friend “zones” while driving. So much so, that if the radio suddenly airs a loud commercial, she jumps. Sometimes her startled reaction results in near misses, barely avoiding accidents.

The same is true at work. The computer becomes the main focus of her attention. If someone walks by and greets her, she screams and levitates above her chair thereby frightening the greeter. After one such experience, a co-worker always tiptoed past her desk in silence.

Could it be that he does not appreciate a responsive (or is it high strung) woman?

Elizabeth Cowan is an author and humor columnist. Check out her new novel Sins of the Father listed under Liz Cowan on Email:

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