Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Dangers of Mutli-tasking

When I was exiting the train this morning I saw a guy who was reading. He walked off the train, climbed the stairs, went through the ticket stile and made his was up and out to the street while engrossed in his book. I tried to see what book it was but could only discern that it was paperback with a colorful cover. Maybe a thriller. It must have been good. There are a lot of tasks I can do while reading, such as eating, stirring a pot of pasta sauce, sitting in the bath, doodling but walking that's one I haven't tried lately. Not since...well, I'll get there.

 I followed the multi-tasker, though not on purpose we were heading the same way. He crossed the street and walked down Locust still reading. The last time I tried to read and walk simultaneously was seventh grade and I was devouring The Lord of the Rings. I was so consumed by the story I read during lunch and offended my friends. I felt my walk to and from school was the ideal time to get some reading in. There is something romantic about reading while walking. This is probably because of every writer's favorite Disney Princess, Belle, who read while walking through her quaint French village and who could have only made me happier if she wore glasses.

My dog Cody reminds me of the Beast, after he gets all lovey, of course.

My village was not as quaint as hers nor was I as aware of my surroundings or my own limbs as Belle. I tripped over my own feet (oh feet, I didn't see you there!) and landed on the sidewalk in front of the city library. The cover of my book tore slightly from the binding but held together. My jeans ripped at the knee and were spotted with my blood.

The damage, more or less.
I limped the rest of the way which was not very far and had to explain to the school nurse, my homeroom teacher, and my parents how I fell. They all told me how dangerous it was to read and walk at the same time. Maybe I needed to learn patience. I didn't, I already knew the dangers, those were my favorite pants and since ripped jeans were against the dress code my parents had to bring me another pair. The pair they brought did not go with my shirt at all. I spent the day sore and self conscious but that's junior high I guess.

Then today there was that guy reading, walking, and showing clumsy 13 year old me up. Maybe now that I am grown up and aware of my body, feet and all, I could try it again? The half an hour I spend walking to and from work could really help put a dent in my to be read list. Then again maybe not.

What about you? What tasks are you comfortable combining? And what tasks should never be mixed?


  1. My daughter reads and walks all the time! I think when a book is THAT good, you just can't help it. But if you're likely to fall and break something, I suggest you get an audio book? :P

  2. Audio books never worked out for me. I can read and concentrate on other people at the same time usually, but audio books take up that small bit of my concentration. I used to read and walk all the time, though I haven't done so in about three years now. I really need to start making more time for my books again.

  3. I was a very clumsy kid, it's surprising I didn't fall sooner.

    I can't believe I didn't think of audio books. I have been meaning to download some for the gym. Hopefully a good book will keep me on the treadmill longer.

    If I am lucky they will take up all of my concentration too so I don't focus on how much farther I still have to go.