Solo Tasking

How exactly is it that blokes have evolved to solo-task to the exclusion of absolute bedlam exploding around them?

My bloke was able to read all about his favourite Argentine football team (hardly urgent one would think) on the internet while Jehovah’s Witness knocked at our door, the dog dug up my new flower garden, the 5 year old was shouting ‘I won’t cut myself with this sharp knife I’ll just cut the dog because he’s being naughty’ and I was chopping firewood hoping the rice wasn’t burning. After the rice did burn, the dog got rescued, the knife confiscated and the Jehovahs ran screaming from our house having witnessed something they clearly wished they hadn’t , I was treated to a lecture from my relaxed not recalcitrant husband on how I’m always leaving everything half finished.

I considered running screaming after the Jehovah’s myself if only they promised to lock me in a white soundproof temple with zero stimulus and wholesome but uplifting reading material.

I remember finishing things. I remember having a brain. Having been brought up with Catholic guilt and mixed this with Buddhist karma and interconnectedness philosophy I suspect somewhere that this is entirely my own fault. Like and the Middle East Crisis, and the return of plastic beads and bubble skirts.

I admire male focus hunt and kill dedication to a solitary task. It’s how you win wars and file the chaos that ensues around the war as ‘collateral damage’, then relax and watch the footy. It allows no guilt. There is no fear in solo tasking that something else of a higher priority (the child drowning in the bath, garden fire creeping over to the neighbour’s villa) is going unsupervised or unfinished somewhere. It must be bliss. I know I should start something heroic and single-mindedly finish it and exclude all the messy mindless chatter of everyday life. Like my child and husband for example. I admire those women whose life can be seen in a body of serious literature or galleries of illuminated statements on life and the universe. It seems much more impressive than a half-finished pile of washed dishes or folded clothes.

Which is why I’ve decided to dedicate myself to the construction of something impressive. A cathedral would be nice – Whangarei needs one of those. Or a giant statue of Jesus or Catwoman that would lean imposingly from Mt Parihaka like that one in Brazil. I could take a lifetime to do it and take time off from my silent chipping of stone to do press releases and get invited to gallery openings. It could happen. But I know it won’t.

Single mindedness has its place but sometimes I just have to accept that things may go unfinished. Failing that there’s always delegation but I missed those seminars along with the dress for success ones and how to marry a millionaire so I’m not the one to ask, although I read an article on it once. When I tried it I couldn’t distinguish it from the version my mother had tried 30 years ago. Back then it was called nagging.

Failing all of this, when my household once again looks like a Richard Scary painting where all the animals are on P and some woman in a scarf knocks at my door, I will smile. I will take her hand and together we will skip past my garden stopping briefly for me to pick a taro leaf with which I will clad my locks, and we will go far far away to a happy place where all projects are finished, all children washed and serene and partners prefer weeding to reading about football.

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