Which is to say not at all. At least for this autistic.
I’ve been sick for almost a week. Sparky’s dad and sister were here last week and I’m sad to say I missed hanging out with them on their last couple of days because I was mostly unable to leave my bed. I came down to wave goodbye as they left and, incapable of getting up from my seat on the stairs for a few minutes, inadvertently overheard my FIL use the term death-warmed-over in reference to me. He wasn’t wrong. I’m still trying to clear all the congestion out of my head without it ending up in my lungs, but feeling much better in general.
At least I was until, for some reason, I couldn’t sleep last night. I’ve now decided that trying to write a post while sleep deprived is akin to multitasking because my brain is trying to fight sleep and come up with coherent words at the same time and failing miserably at both, which is how multitasking attempts generally work out for me.
Though I’ve heard many people claim to be, I don’t think anyone is particularly good at multitasking. Obviously none of the tasks get your full attention, but some of your brain is also taken up by the effort to coordinate the tasks, so they don’t even get their fair share. If you’re doing two tasks at once, each gets less than half your attention, three tasks get less than a third, etc.
Now, for some tasks, good enough is just fine. If you’re doing the dishes while bouncing the baby in the bouncy chair with your foot while talking to your mom on the phone, more power to ya. The world’s not going to end if you miss a spot or two on a dish, the baby will let you know if the speed of your bouncing goes off kilter, and Mom will understand if you need to ask her to repeat something. Twice. Hell, she’s probably doing three or four other things herself and neither of you will notice this is the third time she’s told you that anecdote about the clown she saw at the grocery store who was looking for his monkey. Wait, what did you say again?
There are probably even some tasks that have become so rote to you that they hardly take any brain power at all. I can’t watch TV and knit at the same time because I have to watch my hands to get the stitches right and then I lose track of what’s happening on the show. But I have friends whose hands fly through without a thought and they can simultaneously follow the most intricately plotted show with no problem. Knitting is a rote activity for them.
(Queue public service announcement) Driving is not one of those activities. For anyone. Knitting and watching TV, you might drop a stitch; Driving and texting, you might run a red light and kill someone. So don’t. Seriously. Stop it. (/PSA)
Most people can sing in the car while they drive. The only thing dangerous about that is the looks from other drivers. I just open the windows so they can hear better.
Most people can talk to an adult passenger as they drive, too. I’ve always known I’d rather ride than drive if there are going to be other people in the car, but I didn’t think much about why until the diagnostician asked if I’m able to talk to someone while I drive. It’s one of the questions on the GADS (Gilliam Asperger’s Disorder Scale).
My answer is yes, I can drive and talk to an adult passenger, but I hate it. I get nervous, which makes me seem flighty, and I have difficulty navigating, which makes it worse. Seriously, I have trouble finding my house from two blocks away if there’s another adult in the car. Good thing I’ve never had a job that periodically required me to rent a van and drive committee members around in unfamiliar cities. Oh. Wait. I did that for two years. How did I not have a nervous breakdown? Too damn stubborn, probably. I know there was a lot of teeth gritting and profuse sweating. Because autism, apparently.
So, multitask at your own risk, just make sure it’s not at anyone else’s. You know, unless it’s part of your job. Because money. Now I’m feeling like I should track the committee members down and apologize…