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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Did you ever walk around frantically looking for your phone, all the while holding it in your hand?

This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. You’d think once or twice… ok. I’m still learning. But after several decades, you’d think the first place I’d look for my phone is right in my own palm.


I was talking to my mother recently and in the middle of our conversation about the next best bread recipe, I realized I had no idea where my phone was. There I was, searching high and low, telling my mother that I couldn’t find my phone anywhere, and where the heck did it go.

Telling my mother.

On the phone.

It didn’t occur to either one of us to wonder if it was attached to my ear, so at least I’m not alone.

Did you ever stop what you were doing, like stirring the soup or writing a blog post, get up, walk into another room, open the closet and wonder why the heck you were there?

This happens to me often when I open a closet. I don’t know what it is about doorways that seems to sap your memory, but they are notoriously tricky.

Sometimes I stare for a minute and it comes to me. Sometimes I have to fully close the door and leave the room before I can remember. I actually read something once that if you walk into a room and forget something, you should walk back out to trigger your memory. Apparently doorways give and doorways take away.

But what I really want to talk about is the lake.

Remember the thing about how I’m always in a rush? Put a pin in that. I promise it will come up again.

I lose patience for waiting. I don’t like waiting in line at the grocery store. I don’t like waiting in traffic. This does not make me a unique snowflake, but I find it such a useless expenditure of my precious time that I constantly need to find something to do. Even if it’s just another game of Solitaire.

I lose patience when I’m waiting for the oatmeal to boil in the morning. So I put it in the pot then start making coffee or washing dishes. And subsequently forget about the oatmeal. It’s almost unfair to call it forgetting, because that would imply I had some conscious thought of it in the first place, and it merely flitted away for a moment.

It’s more like I block it out, this thing that dares make me wait.

Inevitably, oatmeal explodes all over the stove. And yet I can’t make myself stand there and wait for it.

The other night I was rushing around trying to get dinner on the table. It involved the usual array of 47 pots, all the knives, six bowls and whatever else was balanced on top of the cutting board.

I stirred the onions, sliced the bread, and stuck the mason jar that Ralph drinks from under the refrigerator water dispenser.

It’s a big mason jar and the water dispenser isn’t exactly speedy. So I put the jar there, then go do about four other things while I wait for it to fill.

Except much like the blocking out of the oatmeal, the jar and the running water were suddenly dead to me the minute I turned my back.

I set the table, poured the sauce, checked the meat. I started washing dishes, feeling pretty good about myself for cleaning up early.

Then Ralph walked in and said, “What’s happening here?”

At which point I turned around and there was his water jar, still happily accepting and rejecting the water poured into it, which was now cascading into a lake across my kitchen floor.

It was a ten towel emergency.

It’s astonishing that at no point did I step into this lake, or even recall that I had attempted to fill the water glass.

Anyway, what’s a good dinner without a side of lake?

Fortunately I remembered what I wanted to say before I got to the end of this post. Now I think I’ll go call my mother and see if she can help me find my phone.

Photo: the lake in spring at Harlinsdale farm with a few cute ducks. They’re much nicer to look at that the mess on my floor. I promise I did not eat any of them.