Ever since childhood the PICs (People in Charge) have been advising me to slow down, do one thing at a time, pay attention to what I am doing. Now I am slowing down--and not by choice. I can’t walk as fast as I used to, so I pay more attention to my surroundings. I appreciate the reflection of the sun on the North Umpqua River, the yellow California poppies and purple blackberries, the red-tailed hawks that live on the hill and constantly circle over their territory. I guess that’s a benefit.
But slowing down leaves less time to do the things I want to do, especially when it takes ten minutes to do something that used to take one. When I’m not watching what I’m doing, the household gremlins take over. They take things out of my hand and put them somewhere else so I can’t find them. They hide my shoes, and my cell phone, and are especially fond of disappearing with my glasses. Then I am forced to spend time searching instead of doing something fun. I remember an amusing article that appeared in a magazine some years ago: the author pointed out that those who do two things at once are doubly lucky—they get to do everything twice because they have to do them over. I can relate.
The other day when I was in Portland for the Willamette Writers Conference, I killed my computer. A whole cup of coffee landed on my laptop. I suddenly realized that instead of relying on my own cluttered memory, I’d outsourced much of it to my Mac. No notes on the conference (who did I see?), no up-to-date calendar (what was the plan for tomorrow?), and all the work I’d done on the Hader biography would have to be redone. All I could do was hope and pray that my home backup had done its job in backing up my files.
Fortunately, we weren’t too far from the Apple store in Portland. The guy behind the genius bar said there were only two things Apple wouldn’t warranty: using my Mac Air as a Frisbee and giving it a shower. Fortunately they thought they could recover the data. Unfortunately, the track pad, some keys, and other bits either thought they were on and wouldn’t go off, or wouldn’t start in the first place. So I gasped, ordered a new computer, drove back to Roseburg, and then had to make another round trip after everything was fixed. The computer geniuses did their magic and I’m back on track. But one loose gesture cost me three days of work plus money I hadn’t planned to spend. Should have listened to the P-I-Cs and paid attention.
Slow down and enjoy the roses.