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E-mail offers plenty of distractions

I've received several e-mail versions of going into a room and wondering, "What did I come in here for?" It goes on to detail the distractions that are linked, one after the other.

They're just one of the old people's genre that we circulate. I used to find them offensive. Then I accepted my age, and the goofy things that we do, and now I recognize that they're funny.

Other things we do are the conversations that wander off the track, coming to, "Now, what were we talking about? There is something I was going to tell you."

But because we are all Thoroughly Modern Seniors, there's the 21st century version of the brain lapse, and it involves our beloved computers. I have my laptop at a little table that's a part of my kitchen. I fire it up in the morning and get a variety of e-mails. Today's crop included Amazon, K-Mart, President Barack Obama, Wayside Gardens and two candidates for governor. Tucked in among them were messages from a daughter, my sister and an old high school friend. Nothing that can't wait. I want to get a meat loaf in the oven. Yes, I often cook in the mornings and microwave later.

So, I get started with the meat loaf: hamburger, bread crumbs, onions, Worcestershire sauce, some spices. I am mixing it up with my hand when I hear a gentle beep from my computer. Oh, something has popped into my IN box. I'm curious. I wash my hands and sit down at the computer again. Nothing new after all. It must have been filtered into JUNK mail. But while I'm here I really should write back to Ann, my high school friend. We are fretting together about another friend who went to a rehab center after hospitalization. So, I click away, writing an answer.

And while I'm at it, Amazon, Kmart, Wayside Gardens and the folks running for governor can be deleted. Okay, back to the meat loaf. I mix away, and then think that maybe instead of shaping it into meatloaf; I could just as well do scalloped potatoes with meatballs in them. Our mother used to do that. But how? I'll just e-mail my sister, responding to her e-mail, and ask her about the meatballs.

I wipe my hands again, sit down at the computer, and shoot off an e-mail. She's probably not online, so it'll be meat loaf after all. But while I'm here, I should read this e-mail from the president. I know it went out to millions of people. But he IS the President of the United States, and going through a rough patch now. It's the least I can do for the man.

I read it, and send it off with a DELETE. The oven pings that it's at 350. Oh yeah, the meat loaf. But there was something else I wanted to tell someone via e-mail. But now that I'm here I can't for the life of me think of what it was. Back to the meatloaf, just a little more mixing and then I'll get out the pan and shape it and put catsup and bay leaves on top. I always think of my mother-in-law when I do that. It's the way she did her meat loaf.

Oh. Now I remember. I was going to send a suggestion to our daughters about what they might buy for their dad for his birthday that's coming up. I wipe my hands and head for the computer and manage to remember why I'm there. But I don't send off the e-mail because before I do, I want to check the theater's Web site because a gift certificate for his birthday is a good suggestion to pass on. Off to Google, then to the theater. What's this? "The Lovely Bones" is here? That was an incredible book.

I click on the trailer and watch it. Wow. We should see that. Well, back to e-mail. Oh, here's somebody who wants to add me as a friend on Facebook. Our oldest daughter set me up with Facebook. I don't check it often.

But if somebody wants to be my friend, and I don't respond, does that make me unfriendly?

I'll think about it while I finish up this meatloaf and get it in the oven. Which I finally do. But I still have to recommend the gift certificates, and find out about that scalloped potato dish for future reference. And maybe it was a mistake to delete that message from the garden store; it's almost time to start thinking about summer. And I still don't know what to do about that Facebook request.

Maybe my husband has the right idea. He's the last non-computer guy in the world. Or maybe I should move my laptop out of the kitchen. But this is so convenient. And I really like it. I really do. My computer. Oh, my husband, too. That's what I was talking about, isn't it?