The other night, Jimbo was reading in bed while I was typing away on the laptop. He'd actually discovered a book that dragged him away from his Oblivion game, which is something just shy of a miracle in my view.
At some point, I chuckled at something funny that Trusty Friend Fuu had said on IRC. Jimbo, still reading his book, asked, "What did Emperor Devon say this time?" Trusty Nemesis Emperor Devon and I, along with a number of other regulars, usually chat in the evening on the Starwarsknights.com chatbox. Jimbo finds his comments amusing and ornery all at the same time and enjoys hearing what my nemesis has said 'this time'.
"Oh, I'm chatting with Fuu at the moment," I replied.
"I thought it was just you and Dev on the chatbox." Jimbo had that look of 'my wife is confusing me. Again.' on his face.
I explained, "Fuu's private messaging on IRC."
"You're on two different chats?"
"Well, actually, five. Dev's on the chatbox, Fuu's PMing, and I have three IRC channels open."
Jimbo's look of confusion turned to complete disbelief. "You're having five conversations at one time?"
"Oh, no. Just three. The starwarsknights and lucasforum channels are quiet right now."
"Of course. Having just three conversations at one time makes it better. How can you talk to three people at the same time?"
Jimbo is not used to instant messaging, which is not-so-instant. You actually have to wait for people to type replies. It drives me crazy to stare at a blank screen waiting for a reply, which can happen anywhere from under a second to an entire day. So I do other things in the meantime. "While I'm waiting for one person to reply, I just click to a different window and IM there. It work just fine."
Then he looked more closely at the screen. "Just how many tabs do you have open? Fifteen? How can you keep track of all that?"
I explained, "That's easy. I just pull up email, and while it's loading, I go check out Lucasforums and make sure the chilluns are staying out of trouble, so while waiting for those posts to load, I go check the IMs, do a little research on Google, type a few sentences on the blog, and so on. That way I don't have to wait for loading screens." It's unusual for me to have only one tab open at a time.
"Oh, of course. It's all so clear now." If he rolled his eyes any farther, they would have probably rolled down the street. "You know, men don't do this kind of thing."
"What kind of thing?" I asked.
"Having five conversations while flipping through 15 different tabs."
"I only have eight tabs open right now."
"Only? Men just do one thing at one time. I only have one tab open, I do that one thing, and then I move on to the next thing."
"You have to multi-task when you're a mom. You have to referee a kid fight, answer the phone, plan the dinner menu, see what the weather's like tomorrow to plan what I'm going to wear to work, and check my schedule to see if I'm free to go out with another mom on Friday."
"I think I'll go back to my one task and read so I don't get a headache trying to keep up with all this," he grinned.
I grinned back and opened a couple more tabs on the browser to check out some more sites.