In the days of primitive computers, these machines could do only one thing at a time. They would complete one task and then move on to the next. Then came a wonderful invention:

Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking meant that computers appeared to be able to perform several tasks at once. They couldn’t really. They still did one thing at a time, but they’d do part of a task, go on to parts of other tasks and return to continue the first task. And because they could work very fast, it seemed as if they were working continuously on the first task.

In order to accomplish multi-tasking, a computer has to replace pages of its memory with those of the next task. This is called:

Paging

If the number/size of tasks to be completed becomes too large for the computer’s memory size, the computer will spend all its resources on paging and will never get to perform any of the tasks. This state is called:

Thrashing

Why am I mentioning this? Because I feel I’m in that state now – going from one task to another and not getting anything finished. And the books I really want to write keep getting pushed back by other stuff.

I’m hoping tasks will diminish soon. Whatever happens, I’m going to shut down for a couple of days for the New Year- 5777. It’s late this year. In the year I turned eleven, my first year in secondary school, Rosh Hashana was very early – on Monday, 7th September.

On Friday, 4th September, when I was still overwhelmed by the newness of everything, the headmistress requested all the Jewish girls to remain after assembly. “The Jewish holidays begin on Monday,” she said in a voice that made me quake. “I hope that most of you won’t take all the days off, as it disrupts the lessons.” She distanced herself from me on that day and never got any closer during the seven years I knew her.

pomegranates

The pomegranate is one of the symbols of Rosh Hashana

Happy New Year!

Once, Jenni Murray, talking about exercising, said that women over fifty tend not to run up the stairs. I think of that every time I run up the stairs.

She has also said (can you tell I like to listen to Woman’s Hour?) that women are good at multi-tasking. I can listen to the radio and work in the kitchen at the same time, but that’s as far as it goes. If you talk to me, I’ll probably stop what I’m doing to answer you. I hasten to add, though, that I can drive and talk, and even know when something on the road needs to take precedence over talking.

I’ve spent too long thinking there’s something wrong with me if I don’t conform to the stereotype. So what if I’ll never be the world’s best conversationalist? I can do things that others can’t. I can sing, and dance, and write, and run up the stairs. I can even give a prepared talk in front of an audience and enjoy it.

Just as we don’t want to read about stereotypical characters, we don’t have to be those characters. We are individuals. Hurray!