Monday, August 13, 2007


We are a nation of multitaskers. And I, in fact, am a master multitasker. I suspect this has a lot to do with my current "bored with life" status. If I had twelve things to do simultaneously instead of a mere 3 things to do all day, I'd be a lot more content. But when all pistons are firing, I am a multitasking machine! These are some of the things that I commonly multitask:

  • Conference calls, email, desk cleaning, blog reading
  • Eating lunch, reading newspaper, listening to music, eavesdropping on coworkers
  • Showering, cleaning shower (This usually evolves into bathroom cleaning, and on special occasions can escalate to full blown naked house cleaning.)
  • Brushing teeth, turning off lights around the house, checking email, getting a glass of water, ferrying things back and forth across my apartment (this is perhaps my most productive time of night).
  • Driving, putting on makeup, practicing snarky comebacks, talking on phone, yelling at other drivers/pedestrians.

The list is endless. Basically, if I still have a hand/foot/eye/ear/finger/mouth free I'll add something to the currently scheduled program.

Of course, there are a few things that do require being single tasked. Such as:
  • Driving, when a policeman is behind you
  • Reading assembly instructions (trust me, if you try to fake this, somehow or other you'll end up with five extra screws and your cat in the dryer.)
  • Ordering a sandwich at Potbelly Sandwich Works

Now, you might think that ordering a sandwich is a perfect time to do some multitasking. But you would be wrong. Dead wrong. The tricky bit about Potbelly, is that even though there's some waiting involved, you could be asked at ANY MOMENT what you are going to order or what you want on your sandwich. You've got to be on your toes ... otherwise, you're mucking up the entire Sandwich Works. And I'm going to be pissed off at you.

So for example, if you were getting a sandwich today at one-ish in the Bethesda location, and you'd decided to read the Washington Post instead of keeping the line moving and deciding what you wanted, I would be pissed off at you. If, when you were asked what you wanted it took you 3 minutes to decide, well then, once again, I would be pissed off at you. If, after ordering, you decided to spread your newspaper out on top of the sandwich bar instead of proceeding along to the "fixin's station", well, it would be pretty surprising if I didn't rip that paper out of your hands and take you out back to teach you the hard way how to follow proper Potbelly etiquette.

I know you don't want me to be pissed off at you. No one wants that, really. And so I'm glad we've taken this time to define what is in and outside the realm of multitaskability. Just remember that if you think that getting a sandwich at Potbelly requires anything less that your complete and undivided attention, well, you better just be sure that I'm not standing in line behind you. Putting yourself between me and my food is never a place you want to be.


soundofstilhed said...

I was talking to my sister on the phone while walking to Potbelly a few weeks ago. When I got inside, I had to end the call so that I would be prepared for anything. It's intense!

Camie said...

My favorites are 1) Driving and talking on the phone. And watching TV/reading blogs/talking on the phone. But I find it really annoying when I can tell someone is mulitasking while they are talking to me on the phone.

holly said...

i agree with the night-time routine. "going to bed" involves SOO much more than just climbing into bed and turning out the lights. ; ) eating and computer time are my daily multi-tasks.

i love potbelly! I'm excited they have one down the road by the IKEA now.