I snapped a picture of my “to do” list sitting on my bathroom counter in New Hampshire and sent it to my girls’ weekend text group.
I wrote: And this is why I don’t keep lists.
The list was all the things I needed to do when I left New Hampshire to go home to Boston. I had actually accomplished everything on the list while in Boston, as the list sat on my bathroom counter in New Hampshire.
It all started when I made a pronouncement to my friends during the girls’ weekend in New Hampshire the week before.
“I’ve been thinking,” I said, “That I would like to start to keep lists.”
Eight women stared at me like I had said “I’d like to have elephant for dinner tonight.”
“What?” I said, as an uneasy feeling was creeping into my stomach, even though no one had said a word.
“We’ve been business partners for ten years and you don’t keep lists?” Carolyn said incredulously. “How did I not know that?!?”
“Ahhh. . .” and before I could answer, someone else jumped in. “How can you function without a list? How do you get anything done?” with a big emphasis on anything.
I giggled uneasily, looking around for support. Surely, they were just teasing me. Nope. Not a one gave me a me too, or I get it look. They were still staring at me like I had five heads.
“Well girls” I said, somewhat defensively, “I have managed to accomplish quite a bit in my life without keeping lists.”
I then proceeded to answer a series of questions as if in the rapid-fire session of a game show.
“Yes, I sometimes make a list for the grocery store.”
“Yes, I see how you get satisfaction in crossing something off a list.” At this one, I sniggered to myself. I bet some of them complete a task and then write it on their list just so they can cross it off. I feel accomplished whether it is written down or not!
And then came the real question: “do you ever forget anything?” That was a loaded question for me.
“Honey, did you call the plumber?” Ted asks.
I don’t even think we need a plumber.
“No, I forgot.” I answer sheepishly.
Isn’t that a convenient answer, I think to myself.
“If you put it on your list, you wouldn’t forget.”
What list would that be? I know he knows I don’t keep lists.
Does he know I didn’t really forget?
Did I forget to call the plumber? Would an item on a list have made a difference? It’s convenient for me to say I forgot to do something that I didn’t really want to do. Convenient to blame it on my lack of list-keeping skills. I mean, I know I could make a list. I just need to use the list.
I walk in bathroom and feel the wet on the floor. “Shit, I better call the plumber.” I say to no one.
I search through my drawers, pulling each shirt out and discarding it on the floor when I remember the ironing. “Shit, I better iron that shirt I want to wear tonight.” I say to no one.
If only I kept a list, onto which I could put those “to-dos” and which I would leave on my bulletin board on my desk so I could see it every day. Then maybe, maybe, I wouldn’t “forget.”