Multitasking

Imagine that you’re stuck on a conference call at work. As you wedge the phone between your ear and shoulder, listening to yap, yap, yap… what else are you up to?

Are you checking your email? Do you shop on Amazon? Scroll through Facebook?

Everyone does something while trapped on the phone.

Let’s take Martin, for example. Last week while tethered to a call, he caught a snake and put it in a bucket.

Not that he had a choice.

Snake in the barn, I scrawled on the blackboard in the Mouse House. Martin kept talking on the phone as he studied my writing, then turned back to his work. I rapped the chalk against the board to get his attention and then wrote the word “corn” in front of snake. (Note: This particular snake did not have corn snake coloring and one website says that they are uncommon around here. But I wanted to convey that this reptile was small and hopefully harmless. Somehow, “corn snake” has become code for this.)

Martin wears a headset in his office, so he isn’t tied to the phone. He can walk outside and — if the horses don’t whinny and the dog doesn’t get manic — no one’s the wiser.

He followed me out and we pantomimed plans to catch the snake for the kids to view. Using my best sign language I vigorously communicated I’m not picking up the snake! You pick up the snake! That’s why I got you!

I motioned to a pitchfork. Use that! But he motioned that if he scooped the snake on the tines, I’d have to hold open the lid on the bucket. No, you fork it and hold open the bucket! I signed back.

Ultimately Martin used a rag to grab the snake; the rag offered moral support but little protection against a potential bite. Martin’s hand momentarily hovered over the snake as he gave me a why am I doing this? look.

Without a break in his phone call, he snatched up the snake and dropped it in the bucket. Unscathed.

Then he headed back to his desk to check emails or buy something.

I’m not sure what kind of snake this is (anyone?) but the kids were thrilled. That evening we set him free.