“Turn Left Heading Two Three Zero”

A short attention span and an inability to multitask are a dangerous combination.

I learned this the hard way on Tuesday. Midway through our weekly Teams marketing meeting, J. started talking about something and I zoned out for a few minutes. To be fair, I was responding to a work-related email. It’s not like I was scrolling through Instagram or trying to figure out Wordle. I assumed that portion of the meeting had nothing to do with me, so imagine my surprise when my boss jolted me back to reality by saying, “Do you have any questions about this project, Mark?”

As a matter of fact, I had plenty. Like, what is this project you were talking about and how am I involved? But I couldn’t say that, because doing so would be admitting I hadn’t been paying attention. Instead, without missing a beat, I responded, “Nope!”

And then spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out how to extricate myself from this #workfail.

I should know better. Whenever we watch TV, Tara is constantly scrolling through her phone…and yet, she is still able to keep up with most of what is taking place onscreen. I’m the exact opposite. If I so much as glance at the clock, I’ll have to back up the program 30 seconds because I’ve missed a key portion of dialogue. For some reason, I find it completely impossible to concentrate on two things at once.

This is why I’m not an air traffic controller. I’d turn away for three seconds to sneeze and there’d be a midair collision over St. Louis.

Fortunately, my job does not involve monitoring and directing the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances between them and ensure hundreds of passengers, crew, and innocent bystanders don’t die. If I mess up at work, I might conjugate a verb improperly. The consequences aren’t nearly as dire.

I shouldn’t beat myself up too badly. They say a goldfish has a longer attention span than a human.

Still, at the end of the meeting, I asked my boss if she could stay on for an extra minute while I ran something past her. Namely, the five-minute gap in my knowledge. Embarrassing? Well, it wasn’t my finest moment, but sometimes you’ve just gotta rip that Band Aid off and ‘fess up. I told her I’d been momentarily distracted but had gotten the gist of what J. had said and wondered if she could reiterate the key points to ensure we were all on the same page as far as this mystery project was concerned, ha.

That was some damn fine verbal wordsmithing if I do say so myself.

Lesson learned, folks. Keep me away from anything even remotely shiny.


This fun Facebook memory popped up today.

Alas, I did not buy this lovely piece of artwork. And have regretted that decision every day of my life since.

Here’s the deal: Tara was still living in Nevada at the time. She would be moving to Washington to live with me in a few weeks, and I wanted to add a touch of class to my townhouse. After all, women love art, right? I’d gone strolling down Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, one of my favorite haunts, and stumbled upon this glorious velvet tapestry in a vintage store. I was so excited over my discovery, I took a photo and texted her on the spot.

Do we want a dogs playing poker tapestry?? I wrote. I’m dead serious…

Much to my dismay, Tara wasn’t nearly as keen on that dogs playing poker tapestry as I was. There was more to our conversation beyond her initial Um…no response, which you can read about here if you’re interested. The bottom line is, though it broke my heart, I walked away empty-handed. I figured I didn’t want our impending cohabitation to start out on a rocky note.

That didn’t stop me from blogging about it, of course. Tara’s comment from 840 miles away was both sweet and sassy. Which pretty much sums her up.

Sweetie, had I known you were so in love with the damn thing, I would’ve told you to get it. And then over the course of a few weeks and several re-arranging of wall hangings…it could have ended up in the garage.

Ironically, Tara soon had a change of heart and admitted the tapestry would have perfectly complemented our kitschy ’70s vibe. By then, the vintage store had long since sold it. Still, every time we returned — which was pretty often over the next six years — we searched in vain for another one.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Seeing the memory on my Facebook account today just ripped open that wound. A decade later, my sense of loss is still strong.

I shall persevere though.

On a related note, I can’t believe we are fast approaching our 10th anniversary of living together. April 14 is going to demand a special blog post. I’ll have to get Tara to contribute, too.

Maybe she can issue a public apology for turning away those poker-playing dogs.

41 thoughts on ““Turn Left Heading Two Three Zero”

  1. I honestly look back and wonder how I ever sat through so many meetings and gained anything. SO EASY to get distracted.

    I’m wondering if you can do one of those google image reverse searches (or whatever they call it) and maybe stumble upon a blog by the current owner of that fashionable tapestry? Because I’m thinking the buyer of that thing would be blogging about it or somehow showing it off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting idea! The problem is, believe it or not, that’s a pretty common design. There are lots like it (I’ve checked) with maybe only very subtle differences. Sure would be fun to see where it ended up though!

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  2. I have totally used, “No questions at this time thanks! But I reserve the right to circle back if I have any later! Haha” … uh yeah let me scramble to find out what I missed. I envy the people who can follow multiple conversations. At dinner parties I sometimes become a conversation dead zone, because I can’t follow the conversations on either side of me seamlessly. If I’m not careful I’ll end up having lost both threads. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha if only! I totally fail at #1 and #5. Not extroverted enough to jump in and not able to juggle multiple conversations. I’m like the opposite of a good middler… I’m a good ender. It doesn’t matter if I get left out of the conversation because I’m going to form a conversational well around me anyway.

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  3. I’m like you. If I look at my phone while watching TV, or conversing with other people, I have no idea what’s happening elsewhere. I have a simple brain, designed for singleminded pursuits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny you should ask. We tried doing a reverse Google image search, but there are simply too many lookalikes. I just hope the tapestry is hanging in somebody’s home in a prominent position of honor.

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  4. I love Tara. (and the poker playing dogs…but only in the correct room)
    Like you, I’m also distracted by shiny objects. Or my phone.
    When we watch a series, I love the first part where they give a snippet of the last episode. The Coach is always trying to FF through them and I’m all, I NEED THAT IN CASE I MISSED SOMETHING on the last episode because I might have been distracted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!! Tara often wants to fast-forward over the previous episode recaps, but I like to watch them because chances are, I’ve missed at least one important thing…even if I thought I was paying full attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The dogs might leave a little something for her on your doorstep in retaliation.

    Perhaps you’ll come across another one on your 20th anniversary. Although… shoot… Sadie(?) might prefer cats playing poker. Why the heck is cats playing poker not a popular thing?! And, yeah, that tapestry would’ve been dope in your basement. Ah well.

    I have been in your position many times with the conference calls. Sometimes it’s, “Betsy, what do you think?” and I mentally recall whose voice I heard just before Boss’s and say, “I agree with X.” That hasn’t failed me yet, amazingly. Or it’s, “Betsy, can you take care of that?” and I respond with a strong affirmative and then message the coworker taking notes: “What did I just agree to do?” So far as I know, I’ve never been found out. I wonder if J fell for your well-worded bs and doesn’t realize you were simply not paying attention. I may need to keep your expert wordsmithing in mind for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sydney. You were close. And I have to agree: why not cats playing poker?? The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is that cats probably prefer something more sophisticated. Like baccarat.

      I like your strategy of blindly agreeing with somebody. If you get nothing else right, at least you’ll nail their name!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dang. I WAS close. And that was my concern too: cats and poker. If not baccarat maybe bridge?

        Not only will I nail the name, I’ll earn some points with whomever that person might be. Win-win! (Win! Office reference.)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Tara is the queen of sass – no wonder you decided not to risk the tapestry!

    I used to be able to do so many things at the same time. People will tell you it means you were doing none of them properly, but I beg to differ. I was totally achieving “good enough” level on them all, reaching excellent on at least one. These days, not so much. But the one thing I can do is scroll on my phone and watch TV. Of course I actually only do it when it one of Himself’s programmes rather than one I love, so I may be less worried about how good enough my recall is 😉

    An ex showed me around his new flat where he’d ever so proudly displayed his beer glass and bar related doodads collection in the living room. Fortunately his mother had a word… with him, not me. She really liked me. I adored her. I really wanted to keep her when I gave him back.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your work mishap reminded me of the Seinfeld episode when George doesn’t want to follow his boss into the bathroom (because, awkward!) even though the boss was explaining a project to him. The boss relates crucial intel in the bathroom but George doesn’t hear it. You gotta go . . . DOWNTOWN!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If I was daydreaming during an instruction session I usually went to the boss lady with legal pad in hand and stated: ” Boss Lady, please give me a few minutes or your time. I really need the benefit of your wisdom on addressing this matter. Please help me start in the right direction.” Humility and flattery always worked. As far as the dogs playing poker tapestry, I felt it was really tacky but I did get the MLK, JFK and RFK one.

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