How about a list?

This column appeared in the Martinsburg Journal newspaper on Sunday, October 25th, 2009

I left the house the other night tasked with a mission from my wife to pick up just three things.

That’s it.

Just bread, milk and juice.

“Do you need me to make you a list? I could text it to you?” my wife asked as I was rushing out the door in a hurry to get my daughter to dance lessons.

We were running late as usual.

“It’s just three things,” I said, hustling our 8-year-old to the garage. “I got it.”

My plan was to go to the grocery store while my daughter was learning to properly pirouette.

I was fairly confident that I could remember three items during the short time between dropping her off and picking her up. I am a college graduate, after all.

But, despite repeating “bread, milk and juice” to myself over and over while on the way to the grocery store, I found myself pacing up and down the aisles with bread and milk in hand while trying in vain to remember the third item.

The last thing I wanted to do was to call my wife and admit that my memory had failed – again.

But even a phone call wasn’t an immediate option. After patting down my pockets, I couldn’t find my phone. I’d forgotten it in the car.

I purchased the bread and milk, then went back to the car to call my wife, who immediately told me I needed to get juice. When I re-entered the grocery store, the clerks gave me quizzical looks that silently asked, “Wasn’t he just in here?”

Clearly, I have a problem, and it’s not limited to short trips to the grocery store for odds and ends.

I once forgot my wife’s birthday. That’s not a good way to promote matrimonial harmony.

These days, she laughs about it, but the underlying look in her eye and the tone of her voice when it’s brought up is enough to make me sick to my stomach.

I swear, I have never and will never forget her birthday again.

To give myself some credit, I’ve never forgotten our wedding anniversary. But I’m petrified that one day I will, because there is a lot of generational mojo associated with it.

Getting married back in 1993 on my in-laws’ 30th wedding anniversary seemed like a good idea, especially since it was also my wife’s grandparents 60th anniversary.

I’ve since thought more carefully about that date and shudder to think what would happen if I ever forget. Three generations of scorn would likely be heaped upon my head, and I’m afraid not even the doghouse would be good enough for me then.

Thank goodness my wife has taken matters into her own hands. She’s never mentioned it, but I think I know why one of our wedding invitations hangs framed in our house. All I need to do each November is to refer to it to avoid shame and ignominy.

Now, if I could just remember what she told me to do today. Where did I put that list?

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How about a list?

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