There are a few statistics out there that show men have a harder time multi tasking. If you needed any more proof, look no further than this late night addition of #GrumpyMonday.
This week Dad takes my little brother Griffin to a baseball tournament in South Bend, Indiana.
And chaos ensues.
As per usual we've got the story written by @MattStevens and my commentary in brackets and bold.
My 16-year-old son and I spent the weekend in South Bend, IN, where his baseball team played in one of those autumn “showcase” tournaments. I put the word “showcase” in quotes because the people who run these events claim that college coaches will be attending the games to evaluate players. Teams from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Toronto, Canada traveled at great expense to be “showcased.”
The venues were many, including high school fields in Elkhart (where they have at least five statues of elk made of various materials standing downtown); Mishawaka, to where people of means have been fleeing from a decaying South Bend since the 1970s; South Bend, where pockets of decent neighborhoods remain only because some stubborn people refused to flee while they could still sell their homes without taking huge losses; and the stadium where the University of Notre Dame squad plays in the spring.
Our team, Premier Athletics, played four games in four cities against four very good teams filled with college-ready players. The weather was gorgeous—in the 60s and 70s both days with plenty of sunshine. Still, unless those college coaches were all masquerading as parents of the players, I saw none--not one. There wasn’t so much as a guy wearing a Notre Dame baseball cap at the game we played at Notre Dame’s own damn stadium!
You’d think if your own damn stadium were hosting some of the best high school players in five states and Canada, you’d send at least an assistant coach to see if the next Clayton Kershaw might be falling into your damn lap! Well, I guess that explains why Notre Dame’s baseball stadium only has two banners commemorating College World Series appearances (1952 & 2002). The people running the program can’t even muster the energy to travel to their own stadium to scout players!
Anyway, that’s not what I’m writing about today.
Today, I’m writing about a multi-tasking effort that failed so miserably that I considered jumping off a bridge over the unidentified river that runs through the city of Elkhart, Indiana.
I needed to charge the largest battery to one of the three video cameras I had brought to capture my son’s highlights. So, I asked the maintenance guy at the field in Elkhart if I could plug my charger into an outlet in the shed that holds the wheelbarrow, baseline chalk and other junk for the field. He said I could, so I did—while thinking to myself that I would surely forget the thing when the game was over and drive away without it.
[Tess' Note: Dad, you should know better. You forget everything. All the time.]
As the boys were warming up for their next game—in Mishawaka—I remembered that I’d been right to think that I’d forget the battery and charger in the shed in Elkhart, which was about fifteen minutes away. Those bigger batteries cost over $100. I pointed the Kia Sorrento back toward Elkhart.
Here’s where the multi-tasking part happens. I was on hold with the tech department at DirecTV when I remembered I’d forgotten the battery. So, I was driving with my daughter Tess’s old IPhone 4s (because I lost my Samsung S-5 in July—see My Grumpy Dad Loses His Phone). The reason for the call was that I’d learned from one of the other dads that NFL Sunday Ticket (a DirecTV service that provides access to all of the National Football League games played on Sundays) also offers a mobile application—and that it only costs an extra $25 per season.
Who wouldn’t want to watch live football on his phone, IPad, computer or other device? I had called earlier in the day to add the service to my account. No problem. However, after downloading the app, I found out that I had to type in my DirecTV user name and password to start it. I had no idea what they were, since I hadn’t been to the website since opening the account in 2006.
About halfway to Elkhart, the hold music stopped and a Filipino woman (I can identify a Filipino accent easily because I call AT&T—which now owns DirecTV, by the way—a lot to complain about being overcharged for WI-FI, and I think the same lady works for both companies and only answers my calls—and she told me once that she was Filipino).
“Oh, yes, Mr. Stevens, may I call you Matthew? I’m sure we can help. Let me get someone on the line to take care of your problem,” she said.
“You mean I sat on hold for forty-seven minutes and you’re going to re-route the call?” I groused. “Are you the receptionist?”
“Please hold, Matthew.”
“I didn’t say you could call me…”
Too late. The music was already playing. As I drove through downtown Elkhart, I made a point of looking for signs on the various bridges that would tell me the name of the river below. I didn’t see any. The GPS was running on the 4s at the same time, and the lady’s voice over-rode the hold music to tell me to turn left on Falls Road. I spotted a police car sitting at the red light to the right and decided to pull up next it and ask the cop if he knew the name of the river.
“Hi. I’m from Ohio,” I began. I didn’t want to leave town without knowing the name of the river that runs through Elkhart. I haven’t seen any signs.”
“It’s the Elkhart River,” he said with a slight smile.
“Oh. Makes sense,” I said. “Thanks.”
“Have a great day,” he said. “Sorry about the Ohio thing.”
[Tess' Note: Insulting Ohio! Damn!]
He drove away as I caught his snipe. Wow, I thought. This guy lives in the flattest, most corn-infested, God-forsaken state in the union (with apologies to Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas) and he’s taking shots at Ohio?
[Tess' Note: YEAH DAD YOU GET EM!]
As I turned into the high school parking lot, the music stopped and the Filipino lady’s twin sister greeted me.
“I’m here to help with your problem.”
“Which one?” I chirped, risking a fifty-eight-minute investment.
“You are trying to log into your DirecTV account so you can activate the mobile app for NFL Sunday Ticket?”
[Tess' Note: Of course dad is trying to do all of this to watch football...]
“Correct,” I said, flatly.
After updating my email address (an address that hadn’t been active since 2006 was still on file), she said she would send me a temporary password. Then, she’d walk me through the steps for activating the mobile app.
“Sounds good,” I said, tapping the email icon on the 4s and waiting for her correspondence to arrive.
At the same time, I was driving toward the field, praying that the shed hadn’t been locked for the weekend after our game had finished.
“I don’t have your email yet,” I said.
“I’m sorry, Matthew. I can send it again,” she apologized.
“Wait,” I said, reading a message at the top of the 4s screen. “My phone says I can’t receive emails during a call.”
(She must have been wondering what kind of antiquated phone this grumpy old man was using.) [Tess' Note: Right...he's using my old phone because he lost his cool new phone. Duh. Come on.]
“All right Matthew, I can call you back in two minutes after you have used the link to change your password. Are you still at 440-717-9352?”
“No,” I said. “That number hasn’t been active since 2009, when we realized there was no point in having anything but cell phones.” I gave her my cell number and got out of the car. Whew! The shed was open. I moved a sack of baseline chalk and pulled the charger and battery from the outlet.
My phone rang as I was re-setting the GPS to the address of the field in Mishawaka.
“Matthew? Hello. It’s DirecTV. Were you able to access your account and change your password?”
“Oh. No. I haven’t done it yet,” I said. “But you’ll be happy to know that I found my camera battery and charger.”
“Well, that’s certainly good news, Matthew,” she replied, as if to pretend she actually knew what the heck I was talking about all the way from Manila. “So, I can call you back in two minutes.”
“Better make it five,” I said. “I’m not the sharpest tack in the box.”
“All right, Matthew. I will call in five minutes.”
As I drove across the bridge over the Elkhart River and past a couple of gaudy elk statues, I tapped the link on the email she’d sent and logged into the DirecTV website using my email address and the temporary password. Then, I found the “My Profile” section and scrolled to the “Change Password” thing. The GPS lady interrupted my task to tell me to turn right, so I glanced at the road for the first time in a minute or so and made the turn. The virtual keyboard on the 4s is so damn small that I kept hitting the wrong letters as I tried to type the password—and the GPS lady kept telling me to make turns.
[Tess' Note: The screen was fine for me, then again...I have T-rex hands. Yeah...think about that.]
Then, the phone rang. “Hello? Matthew?”
“Yes. Listen. I’m going to need more time,” I said. “I’m trying to drive from Elkhart to Mishawaka to get back to my son’s game, and I’m having trouble typing on this bullshit phone of mine. Call me back in two minutes.”
“All right, Matthew,” she said.
I hung up and went back to the website to pick up where I’d left off. The GPS lady told me to turn again. I typed as I turned and almost plowed into a corn field. (Am I confessing to a crime here? I know it’s against the law to text and drive, but I’m not sure about changing DirecTV passwords and driving.) I carefully typed in my new password, but for some reason, an error message came up. I tried again. Same message. The phone rang.
“Still not done. It keeps giving me an error message. I’ll try again. Can you call back?” I pleaded.
“Is there something I can help you with, Matthew?”
“Do you have a gun or some poison you can send me a link to?” I replied, gritting my teeth.
“I will call back in a few minutes, Matthew.”
“Thank you,” I said, pulling into a parking space at the field in Mishawaka. The scoreboard said the game had progressed to the third inning. I grabbed my camera and walked to the top of the grandstand while typing the new password into the phone (which is not easy to do while wearing sunglasses with bifocals).
One of the boys from our team was batting as I found a place to settle near some of the other parents, including that boy’s mother. I set down the camera and tried again to re-set my DirecTV password. Success! Finally! Then, I found the icon for the Sunday Ticket app on the 4s. I tapped it. It asked me for my user name and password. I typed them carefully and paused for a second. I held my middle finger (symbolically) above the login button and tapped it like I was trying to poke out somebody’s eye. A menu of games in progress appeared! I scrolled to the Detroit vs San Diego game, dangled my middle finger (symbolically) above it and tapped it firmly. In a few seconds, a live telecast was blaring from my phone!
“Yes! Yes!” I shouted—just as the umpire screamed, “Strike three!”
I didn’t have to turn to feel his mother’s glare.
“Oh, God. I’m sorry. No. I’ve been trying to get the Sunday Ticket app on my phone for hours and it finally happened just as your son struck out. So, I was happy. Not that he struck out, but that I finally got the thing to work. The pitch looked low to me, by the way.” She turned away, humorless.
[Tess' Note: Ugh. Oh my God Dad! Come on!]
The phone rang. “Matthew?”
“Yes! It’s working! It’s all good! Thanks for your patience,” I said.
“That’s very good, Matthew,” she said. “Is there anything else I can do?”
“No. Cancel that gun. Okay? At least until after the football season.”
Whew! That was a crazy one!
My dad just turned 58, is a huge football fan and loves filming Griff's games. Here are the hi-lights from Griffin's tournament. He's a pretty good player right?
I'd go through all that to watch my brother play any day.
Do you have trouble multitasking?
What do you think sports fans? Is that App worth it?
And grumpy viewers...is this the craziest story yet?