I used to be so proud of my ability to multitask. At work I could concentrate on three different projects at once. At home I could cook a meal while cleaning the kitchen and simultaneously writing a proposal for a client. Those days are gone. Now it’s all I can do to concentrate on getting one thing done at a time. If I put eggs on to hard boil, I can’t go into the bedroom to fold and put away laundry because even before the laundry is put away, I’ll notice that the top of my dresser is dusty and I’ll head back to the kitchen to get the Swiffer duster, only to discover the water from the hard-boiled egg pot has completely boiled dry.
Work is even more of a challenge. My workstation has three monitors, on which are a variety of the systems I use for my job. I’ll be creating an order for a customer when an email notification will pop up in the corner. Seconds later, a co-worker will send me a Skype message, asking a question, and then someone else will comment on a group thread in Microsoft Teams. The phone rings and it’s the call center with a customer who needs assistance. Most every minute of the workday I feel like that talking dog from the movie “Up” who, in the middle of conversation, will suddenly yell “Squirrel!” and stare off into the distance.
And the most distracting part of my workday is when I must open a new tab in Internet Explorer. I use both Explorer and Chrome for various reasons. Opening a new tab in Chrome is pretty basic. If the Google Doodle looks interesting, I might click on it, or I might just ignore it and open whatever site I need that lives on the bookmark bar.
Internet Explorer, on the other hand, is a constant temptation when opening a new tab. The landing page sports any number of enticing stories which just beg to be clicked. I mean, when you see the headline “Nicholas Cage Mistaken for Homeless Man, Kicked Out of Vegas Restaurant,” how on God’s green earth can you just ignore that? Because if it’s a choice between looking up a customer’s EPA ID or reading more about how Nick Cage got kicked out of a Vegas restaurant, the Cagemeister will win every time.
I do try to resist. Some of the more alluring headlines are clearly just clickbait, waiting for you to get sucked into a story that should be one page but instead is broken up into short paragraphs that require you to click from one page to the next and then the next, each page loaded with pop up ads. “20 Most Outrageous Celebrity Splits. You Won’t Believe Number 14!”
And then there was last week’s story, which I couldn’t believe was real: “Woman Accused of Starting Fawn Fire Was Boiling Bear Urine to Drink.” This headline was splashed across a woman’s mugshot. I’m sorry, I have willpower, but I’m not made of steel. Who can resist the draw of a news story that involves bear urine?
Eagerly I scanned the story, learning that the woman had been arrested under suspicion of starting the fire. There were all kinds of stats and facts about the fire itself, how many acres it had burned, how many dwellings were lost, how much money in property damage, blah blah blah. The one thing the story didn’t contain was the reason why this woman was drinking bear urine. And why the need to boil it first? Was this some new health kick? Bizarre religious ritual?
It wasn’t till days later, on my own time and on my personal computer, that I was able to find a news story that satisfied my curiosity about this woman’s choice of beverage. Something about hiking and being thirsty and seeing a puddle but realizing it had bear urine in it (how does one spot that anyway?) so she tried to filter it through a tea bag but that didn’t work so she tried to boil it, but the area was too wet to start a fire, so she ended up drinking the puddle (and bear urine) anyway.
So apparently our company will be phasing out Internet Explorer shortly and moving to Microsoft Edge. My hope is that the browser’s landing page will be plain and boring. Farewell Internet Explorer. You can keep your enticing news stories about Nicholas Cage and the Fawn Fire and UFOs and bear urine. There’s work to be done.