This post is not going to be about an accommodating woman and three Indian rubber men.
Nor is about the friend of the bicycle, push lawn mower and hedge clippers.
No, this is an even more amazing topic –
the multi-tasking man.
I know for anybody of the female persuasion you might have heard of the lubricating oil and the accommodating woman (that reads wrong, doesn’t it?) but you’ve never heard of the multi-tasking man.
Well, the following story (in the style of the tales of the unexpected) should convince you that, rare as they are, they do exist. And, like the incredible hulk, there is one buried in every david banner.
Last Friday I got the excuse to do a bit of travelling for work.
going on an ‘inspection’ is what we say in the business.
This invariably involves me driving to some geographically remote part of the country with a passenger’s seat full of files, a pack of sandwiches wrapped in tin foil and so mid-morning talk radio.
I know I make it sound very sexy and exclusive but that’s just the way I write these things. Mainly it just involves drinking coffee and smelling your own farts.
Anyway, after the first inspection (a water treatment plant for Carlow town) I decided I’d head on to the second town (Leighlinbridge) and get that piece of ‘government agent’ work out of my system. This one was inspecting a sewage pumping station so the glamour index was reading a good 9.5.
As I headed out of Carlow I checked the phone to see if there were any handy geocaches around that would make a good excuse for a bit of a break from the high powered job I was doing and I spotted a nice little one down by the River Barrow in a place called Milford Mill which was the first hydroelectric scheme in the British Isles and supplied Carlow Town with electric street lighting in 1891.
That sounded good to me, so off I went in search of the geocache. I won’t bore you with that but needless to say it involved me nerding around and finding a world war 2 motorbike first aid kit and swapping kids plastic toys in and out of it.
As I was engaged in this dubious enterprise a whippet of a runner went past me on the barrow track. (completed in 1800 and now a ‘nice walk’).
Hmmm, I though. I could do that. And as it was lunch time I went back to the car and, like an alcoholic housewife, I retrieved my bottle of gin from the toilet cistern (running gear from the boot of the car for those now scratching their head).
So off I went after the whippet for a planned 4 miler – 2 out and 2 back. After about a mile of this run in the mud I knew it was gong to be longer. The joy of sloshing away in the mud was too good to give up. The slip-sliding made a good excuse to forget about the pace and just keep going at a pace that felt like fun.
After about 3 miles of this I said I’d better head back as each mile further made it the same back. But in front of me, about 3/4 of a mile away was Leighlinbridge.
Ho-hum I though, I might as well keep going and do a bit of a wander around so of I trotted and spent about half an hour looking at sub-pavement pumping stations, rising mains, control kiosks and vent stacks while eliciting strange looks from the natives.
After this I checked the phone again only to realise that across the river was another geocache. My chances of being in this place again to go geocaching were pretty slim and the sight of a runner scrambling about in the bushes was pretty normal so I decided to pick up this cache as well.
After that I turned on my heels and shagged off back up the track to the car. A nice easy 8 miles that left me with a pair of dirty leg, wet shorts and a long drive home. Still, after a squaddie’s shower (aerosol deodorant) I was fresh enough to hit the road.
And the IT hit me. Like Saul on the road to Damascus or an ultra marathon runner I had my moment of clarity:
I had just been multi-tasking. I had been working, geocaching and running all at the same time (and on my lunch break for good measure). This, from the conditioning I had been exposed to, i.e. that men can’t multi-task, was a clear evolution of the species.
I’ll grant you that it wasn’t breastfeeding while cycling a bicycle but it was 3 in 1.
To be fair, while I’ve been writing this, my wife has been doing piano with the eldest, ironing the uniforms and screaming at the kids so I’ve been learning at the feet of a master.