Re: Putter

1

My sister! Yeah, it's annoying for getting things done around the house.

For me it's distractibility, I think. I'm capable of about fifteen-eighteen seconds of focus before I pick up a magazine or catch sight of a squirrel, and then it's ten minutes before I remember that I was cleaning or grating cheese or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:18 AM
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This aspect of my MIL is one of the ones that makes it hardest for me to stand her being around. I basically can't bear to be in a room where she's doing anything, because it takes her so insanely long. For example, I'll sometimes come down at 6:30 to start dinner, and the dishwasher is half empty, because she only started putting dishes away at 5:15. I'm not making this up. And it's not a familiarity thing; she knows where 95% of the stuff goes, and the other 5% she just leaves on the counter without trying to figure it out. The trebly maddening thing is that she's not doing a better job at anything*, she's just taking 2-3 times longer than anyone else would.

As it happens, chopping vegetables is something that I'm fairly certain I do much more slowly than anyone, and I'm not sure why. Lord knows I have enough practice. Some of it perfectionism - the pieces end up pretty uniform, whether they need to be or not - but there's an aspect of hand-eye (maybe?) that seems to keep me slow. Come to think of it, when I shared an office with a CAD draftsman, he was much swifter at drawing stuff, and not just because he was doing rote stuff while I was designing as I went; no matter the task, I can't draw very fast on the computer (I think my hand drawing is much closer to the norm for professionals).

*this isn't always literally the case - hand washed dishes get cleaner from her efforts - but it's never linear with the time. 50% cleaner pot, 3X longer to wash it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:25 AM
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Girls are slow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:28 AM
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Heebie, are your reflexes also slow? If something is tossed at you by surprise, do you catch it?

Not that I have anywhere to go after that thought, but I wonder whether it is a separate thing.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:28 AM
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This is me too. I noodle around the grocery store like Jeffy coming home from school. Or a Meitiv kid. Whichever.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:29 AM
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Heebie, are your reflexes also slow? If something is tossed at you by surprise, do you catch it?

Reasonably fast, but nothing to write home about. I think reflexes must be a different thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:32 AM
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I can blink fast enough to stop a bug from going into my eye, but I can't make it through the grocery store without looking around for samples. So yes, different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:34 AM
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Jim Gaffigan Explains Why Southerners Are Slow


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:38 AM
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I think people are slower in relation to their relative distance to the equator. People in the South are slow because its hot there. In the Caribbean, its even hotter, and people are even slower. Meanwhile, New York is ass-cold for a good chunk of the year, and people are very efficient, because they need to move to stay warm.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:45 AM
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My gf and everyone in her family are like this. Even though I've never been able to muster the wherewithal to consistently pack a lunch for myself, for a long time I was making her lunch for her every day because it drove me crazy how long it would take her. (My laziness eventually won out over my irritability.) Thank god she's not as bad (yet) as her dad, who I swear will take 15+ minutes to make a fucking sandwich. It's stressing me out just thinking about this.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:45 AM
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I'm the opposite. If I want to do it, I do it fast. It's the motivation that's the bottleneck.

One of the reasons I'm fast is that I have a system for everything. I can be from fast asleep in bed to out the door fully dressed in about 5 minutes if I skip showering, and most of that is wandering aimlessly around the apartment brushing my teeth. Because I have a system, see? Also male privilege, but mostly it's the system. And not having kids.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:47 AM
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It's taking me forever to grade these exams, but that has a more predictable explanation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:47 AM
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12: You need a system, Heebs!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:48 AM
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9: On the other hand -- Jamaican sprinters and Kenyan long distance runners.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:54 AM
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if I skip showering

One day of skipping is fine. Two days, borderline. Three days, right out.


Posted by: Opinionated People on the Bus | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:54 AM
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9. Unless you're talking about the northern parts of New York state then no (and I'm not sure how fast/efficient people are up there). New York city is very bustle-y, but not particularly cold.

I'll absolutely believe that heat has a lot to do with doing things fast, though, and especially humid heat because it makes doing anything kind of miserable, and doing anything briskly enough to raise your body temperature even a little completely awful.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:58 AM
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One of my friends who is a hot yoga fanatic swears that it has recalibrated her ability to tolerate the heat here. That the 90s now feel pleasant and she doesn't break a sweat. That seems totally believable and is the first time I've truly been intrigued by this phenomenon. OTOH, it's 90 minutes long and you probably need to do it regularly to get the effect.

(And it sounds unbelievably boring. I've had the thought that I'd need to come armed with a math problem to think about while I was there, if I were to try it out.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:02 PM
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18

I am fast if it's something I do routinely- eg empty the dishwasher. But again it's motivation- I have a kind of OCD I can turn on for finishing tasks and I get overly focused on them until they're done, if I have the energy to start.
I also have been told I have very good reflexes, opposing goalies in hockey where I'm one of the best in the league at redirecting shots (50mph from 30-40 feet) or in tennis where I'm very good at reaction shots playing the net.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:05 PM
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I would expect potchkeh to be slow as his name literally means "to putter"!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:09 PM
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20

Also I miss truly hot weather.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:10 PM
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20 is wrong. Even thought it's subjective, it's objectively wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:13 PM
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21 is right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:16 PM
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I can't imagine how long I'd have to go between 88° days to want one. It's never happened yet, so it must be more than 250 days. Probably more than 300.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:18 PM
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Heebie, you are my mortal enemy. As are all the other putterers in this joint.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:18 PM
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I do sort of want to try hot yoga, but not enough to overcome my reluctance to enter a yoga studio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:19 PM
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To the OP, my guess is that somebody who wasn't at least tolerant of puttering would be very miserable as a teacher.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:20 PM
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26 is a good point, although you can deal with it somewhat by focusing on one putterer at a time and then turning to another while they still putter around. Sorry for more sick-whining, but one of the worst things about being this sick and exhausted is how slow I feel, like I'm dragging myself through jello or something. I don't know that in general I'm all that productive, but at least I'm usually quick if I want to be.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:24 PM
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like I'm dragging myself through jello or something

I've heard of women doing that, but I didn't know it was because of shingles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:26 PM
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Shingles are gritty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:32 PM
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I'm not sure if it was the shingles that slowed me down last year or all the pot I ingested to take the edge off the pain. (Sorry about the shingles, Thorn—weirdly painful, isn't it?)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:33 PM
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Heebie, your pace is the right and true one. Fast-actors deserve their ulcers and early graves.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:34 PM
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I have not resorted to pot or to jello wrestling, though clearly everyone here is watching my decline in realtime and would be unsurprised by either outcome. The pain is weirdly painful pain. I am not a fan. I wish these weren't my busiest weeks for work and other obligations, because I just want to cry. (Possibly so will the teachers at the fairly crummy Teacher Appreciation Breakfast I'll throw them tomorrow. Sorry!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:37 PM
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Ulcers are the result of infection. It's gastritis that you get from being fast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:38 PM
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I guess it's not that weird, considering that it's nerve pain. There was just a disconnect between what I was seeing, which looked like a small rash, and the sensation of having a huge nest of fire ants in my armpit.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:46 PM
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I do things very quickly. Not because I'm trying to do them quickly. Just my pathology is that when I get absent-minded I plow through things. Except for preparing talks that I have to give in less than twenty-four hours. I take my sweet goddamned time on those.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:47 PM
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We have 88° days every day, and they are great. Much cooler than that, and the pool gets chilly.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:48 PM
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19: pseud adopted specifically to describe time spent on things like unfogged. That way, every time I comment, I can hear my mother/grandmother telling me to stop potchkeying around and get back to work already. Anyway, puttering--which I do plenty--doesn't seem to me quite the same thing as moving slowly while on autopilot. Also 22 is correct.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:51 PM
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I have to leave the kitchen when my roommate is cooking because the

"THOCK" (long pause...)

"THOCK" (long pause...)

"THOCK" (long pause...)

makes me completely mental. I don't know if I'm speedy or puttery in general, but I can't abide slow vegetable chopping. No sir.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 12:53 PM
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I'm the opposite. If I want to do it, I do it fast. It's the motivation that's the bottleneck.

My brother! I am very efficient and get things done quickly, but weirdly I always think things will take much longer than they eventually do, which means I will often not do them until I have loads of time. In general, I seem to finish most simple tasks before most people, and once I have the most efficient system in place I stick to it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:02 PM
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Also I miss truly hot weather.

Dude, just drive east for half an hour. You'll get it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:04 PM
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People in the South are slow because its hot there. In the Caribbean, its even hotter, and people are even slower. Meanwhile, New York is ass-cold for a good chunk of the year, and people are very efficient, because they need to move to stay warm.

Close; actually it's because the cold weather allows them to run their brains at higher clock speeds. (cf Terry Pratchett trolls.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:21 PM
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41: I have actually fielded an argument from somebody on the internet using that as a justification for scientific racism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:24 PM
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42: Wait, what? So... racism is justified by anyone in a cold climate being racist at a distance to someone in a hot climate? I don't even understand how it would work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:26 PM
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43: dark-skinned people are dumber because they are from hot climates, so their brains have to be designed not to overheat from thinking too hard in hot weather.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:28 PM
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I mean, it's scientific racism. Did you expect it to make sense?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:29 PM
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Without "on the veldt" it sounds more racist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:30 PM
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I can't believe I'm having trouble letting this go, but had the racist noticed that summer temperatures in temperate climates are about the same as tropical temperatures? So he'd need a theory that we could handle the overheating for two months or so, but not twelve straight? Never mind, this is entirely not worth thinking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:32 PM
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47: he had. Honestly I think I'm not quite doing justice to his extremely stupid theory: he thought that the capacity for hot-runnin' fancy-thinkin' evolved -- like light skin -- only after early humans moved to a part of the globe where consistent stretches of cold temperatures were normal.

He also thought that if white people moved to tropical environments, they would eventually (like, within a few years not over generations) get dumber, because their brains weren't resilient to the consistent hotness and things would burn out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:39 PM
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So really, the only problem with the theory is that your brain getting hotter from thinking too hard is... not a thing that happens. I suppose that's better than most scientific racism does.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:44 PM
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So does he conclude that Southern politicians are dumber than Northern ones? Also, do we have seasonal variation to our intelligence?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:48 PM
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50: I don't remember. If I'm correctly remembering who it was, he's since gone crazy and fled to Alaska to live with a Pentecostalist cult community on an island, so I don't really have a way to reach him. Presumably his brain is zinging right along, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:56 PM
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Thank god she's not as bad (yet) as her dad, who I swear will take 15+ minutes to make a fucking sandwich.

Have you ever eaten one of his sandwiches? I bet that's a good fucking sandwich.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 1:58 PM
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I object very strongly to this identification of puttering with doing things slowly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:01 PM
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48.2. There's money to be made selling cooled helmets if the population of scientific racists subscribing to that theory is large enough.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:06 PM
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Well, yes. I putter a lot and multitask and still do things quickly. But I'm actually wearing a dress I've made, so that could give me hope that one of the three others I'm working on will get finished at some point.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:06 PM
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Relevant.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:06 PM
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I have encountered the something like the hot brain theory, though it had to do more with higher levels of activity generally, resulting in intrepid, go-getter Europeans and lazy shiftless Africans. All gussied up with bell curve caveats and so forth, of course.

Also I think the new term for scientific racism is human bio-diversity (HBD). If you google it you get hours and hours of blood-boiling pseudoscience to read.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:06 PM
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55 to 53. I have no interest in hand-sewing racist helmets. I've done enough weird craft stuff for the year.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:07 PM
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I object very strongly to this identification of puttering with doing things slowly.

It's more like puuuuuuuuutttttttttttteerrrrrrrrrrrring.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:10 PM
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Have you ever eaten one of his sandwiches? I bet that's a good fucking sandwich.

His sandwiches inevitably involve Miracle Whip, so no.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:24 PM
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The only thing I have less of than grit is speed. An ex used to call me The Poky Little Puppy.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:36 PM
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In any task that I do repetitively (doing laundry, taking out the trash, cooking breakfast), I refine my process. One gets the sense that The Missus, on the other hand, is reinventing everything anew each time she does something.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 2:49 PM
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I'm pretty fast at most things. Certainly house-hold chores I'm significantly faster than my wife at everything. She probably does a better job on some of them, but I'm doing 80% of the stuff in 20% of the time. I'm also fast at chopping veg, cooking, etc.

That said, if it's something I really don't want to do, or is boring and time-consuming, I can easily procrastinate forever. But if I'm actually _doing_ something, rather than putting it off by fannying about, I'm fast.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 3:27 PM
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So if you consider those routine household tasks like unloading the dishwasher and just don't bother with them -- you leave the dirty dishes and utensils in the sink until you've used most of the clean ones still in the dishwasher and then just put the dirty ones in the dishwasher and run it -- does that as being really fast or really slow?


Posted by: No longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 4:17 PM
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What I really miss is warm nights which you don't get without hot weather, but I also like actual hot weather.

I just really fucked up this Smitten Kitchen coffee cake that turned out great last time and because I'm doing that "600 calories two days a week" diet and have low blood sugar I feel like weeping.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 8:14 PM
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Fortunately it smells really good, like food, that people eat, with their mouths.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 8:28 PM
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If I'm correctly remembering who it was, he's since gone crazy and fled to Alaska to live with a Pentecostalist cult community on an island, so I don't really have a way to reach him.

I could probably track him down if you want. Do you know which island?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 9:54 PM
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I first started realizing I was "slow" at about 35. I'd always been a fast learner, and spent a lot of time with single-player video games. Then I found that
* multiplayer Civilization runs 2-4 times my normal playing pace, and so does multiplayer GTA where all you do is run around and shoot
* new hires at my job had no difficulty keeping up with a job I still had trouble with after years of productivity improvements
* most people don't spend a half hour eating at every meal (I weigh 140 pounds)

#2 was the worst. I could point to thing after thing that I did with a lookup table and other people punched into a calculator or whatever, so I couldn't believe that in the end I was still slower. But it's true.

I just do everything at a slower pace without really understanding how. Like, why do I run slower than others? My legs feel like they're moving as fast as they can, only the race tells me I'm slow.

I might be slow due to too much cognitive involvement in processes that human instinct is far swifter at solving. I'm terrible at generalizing from my experience. Or I might be slow because of a lifetime of taking time to mentally micromanage things like "How should I word this?" or "What should I do first, clip my hair or shower?" I never had much time pressure in my life to get me to make decisions fast.

Anyway, as long as you aren't in a fast job and are just doing your own individual hobbies, being slow is subjectively unconcerning. Since I went unemployed I've rarely thought about it.


Posted by: Noumenon72 | Link to this comment | 05- 8-15 3:49 AM
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Heebie, I think this is a distractibility thing or possibly the result of an above-average level of carefulness. The fact that you can move faster if you concentrate suggests the former.

I stopped letting my husband help with cooking when I realized I can chop the onions faster while multitasking than he chops while doing nothing else.


Posted by: anonymous | Link to this comment | 05- 8-15 9:10 AM
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What I really miss is warm nights which you don't get without hot weather, but I also like actual hot weather.

In about a month, those will be available to you, with bonus dry air and a breeze, about an hour east of your current location. You just have to get out of the shadow of that horrible marine influence.

I super-duper wish for an enclosed sleeping porch with a ceiling fan, but life has not yet brought me one.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 8-15 10:07 AM
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First line laundry of the year. Rush rush to get it out early in the day, and then one can stand in the cool shade and enjoy it after.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-15 2:58 PM
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