People who appear to be driven by one powerful passion such as money, sports, or Facebook are said to have one-track minds. Oh, that my mind ran on only one track! Instead, my mind skips back and forth among seven or eight tracks, like the needle of an old hi-fi on a scratched record album. Let me illustrate.
I begin the day by showering, drying off, wrapping towels around my wet body and wet hair, and going to the closet to get a pair of jeans. The jeans I want to wear are not in the closet because they have been sitting in the clothes dryer since yesterday. I put on my stained and ratty old housecoat and head for the laundry room.
My trip to the laundry room to remove the jeans from the dryer takes me through the kitchen. In the kitchen, I stand for 20 minutes in front of my freezer trying to decide what kind of meat to thaw for dinner. (This is Skip #1.) Settling on pork chops, I search for the “Pork Chops from Heaven” recipe my friend gave me last month.
My search for the recipe takes me through the grandkids’ play area where I step with bare feet onto Legos, shriveled grapes, doll clothes, and plastic game pieces. This motivates me to try to bring some order to the play area. (Skip #2)
I spend the next hour putting crayons back into boxes, digging Play-Doh out of the carpet, reassembling seven jigsaw puzzles whose pieces have been mixed together, and separating Legos from Lincoln Logs. I discover that the box containing the checker board has only black checkers in it, and I recall having earlier seen a stack of red checkers sitting inexplicably on a dresser in the guest bedroom.
On my way to the guest bedroom to get the red checkers, (Skip #3) I pass through the guest bathroom. There I recognize that the toilet needs to be cleaned. (Skip #4)
I clean the toilet, glance into the bathroom mirror, and see the reflection of a mad woman wearing a turban and a sad-looking, old housecoat, holding a toilet scrubber. I remember that this is the woman I promised myself I would never become.
I gather used towels and washcloths from the bathroom (Skip #5) and head for the laundry area to start a load of laundry. When I reach the laundry area, I recognize that my husband’s wet dress shirts are sitting in the washer, waiting to be loaded into the dryer. I open the dryer door to put in the shirts but discover that the dryer still contains the jeans I dried yesterday.
It was to remove those jeans from the dryer that I started this ill-fated trek through the house in the first place. By this time it is almost noon and I remember I am supposed to meet a friend at Panera Bread for lunch at 12:30.
The only intentional task I have successfully completed is the removal of a pair of jeans from the dryer, and that little undertaking took three hours to pull off.
I haven’t accomplished much in my journey through life, but I have learned a few things. Never reply to an email suggesting you may have inherited a million dollars from a relative in Spain. Never put on pantyhose with reinforced heels and toes when you plan to wear sandals. And never buy a house with a circular floor plan. It’s the quickest way in the world to get nowhere fast.