Rarely do I do one thing at a time.
Recently, I read a post or an article or something about "single-tasking" and slowing down and giving attention to just one thing. This is something I am considering and thinking about at length. It deserves attention because I know that the intent behind the advice of the article was true and right. However...
While painting my nails this morning, I was also brushing my teeth. Well, not at the exact same time, but the one event, teeth-brushing, came immediately after the previous event, nail-painting. As soon as one cap could be screwed on, the cap of the other was being screwed off.
After I completed brushing my teeth, I needed chapstick, the final step in my daily bathroom routine. Of course, I messed up the polish on my left ring finger. The polish was wrinkled and holey. As I walked into the bedroom, I dabbed my nail to my tongue and tried to repair the damage.
"What are you doing?" my husband questions from across the room.
"Oh, trying to do ten things at once, and I messed up my nail polish," I said.
He replied with a cursory, "You always do that," under his breath. We made eye contact and smiled, knowing he was right.
His smart-mouth catapulted me back to my Grammy's kitchen. She always painted her nails at the table. Avon reds and pinks were staple colors, filling her top right dresser drawer where she kept the bottles.
One day, she was finishing up her nails, replacing the screw-on applicator top as she had done hundreds of times. I watched thinking about the hot pink she never used and wishing I could paint my nails with it.
"Here, Honey. We'll do yours after lunch," she said as she handed me the bottle to put back in the drawer. I loved the sounds the bottles made as the drawer was pulled out, clinking together like wind chimes.
As I came back into the kitchen, I saw Grammy touch her right index finger to her tongue. Then she brushed against her wet nail with her other index finger.
"What are you doing, Grammy?" I asked, thinking the action would mess up her freshly painted nails.
"Oh, I was stirring this pot and bumped my nail with the spoon handle. If you lick it real quick, you can fix it...most of the time. I always do that. There's never time to let them dry." She showed me, flashing the perfectly polished pale pink nail down to my eye level. It looked fine to me.
Later, after Grandpa had come home for lunch, napped in his chair, and left again, we did my nails at the table. All Grammy's attention was on me. I sat there, still as a statue, fingers splayed wide, grinning from ear to ear. As Grammy twisted the top of the polish closed once again, she said, "Sit still, Honey, until it dries." I did just as she said until I was dismissed to go play. There was no need to rush, nothing pressing to do...just sit still, watching paint dry.