I have a mind like a steel sieve. Usually there's room for one thought at a time and that's it. As soon as I have to think about something else it's game over for the original notion which is cast aside like a moldy piece of cheese.
Because of this, I make lists of everything that needs doing. I'm the guy walking through the grocery store continually double-checking a crumpled piece of paper to make sure every item has been picked up. Even then, it must be admitted, I still somehow manage to forget at least one or two things.
Lydia, who knows my weakness, is the one who juggles the family scheduling. She knows the dates of every dental and doctor appointment. She arranges Sylvia's guitar lessons and Mitchell's swimming lessons. Left to me, these would be a jumble of conflicting commitments and nothing would get done. Under Lydia's guiding hand, it all runs smoothly. So, naturally, I leave things up to her. Although, based on a recent occurrence, I may have to rethink this approach.
Lydia had arranged an oil change for the car and, as usual, wrote down the date and time of the appointment. I thanked her, accepting the information which had been neatly written on the back of an old envelope. I had expected to see the date and time, but this note contained a great deal more information. As I read it, my eyes widened in disbelief and embarrassment.
Included on the note was the address and phone number of the dealership. In case I forgot where to take the car? Surely, I wasn't that bad! To add insult to insult, Lydia's note didn't end there.
"Drive into the drive through section," she had written. "Park in that lane. Walk in and speak to the advisor at the service desk and they'll do up the work order."
Okay, I thought, swallowing my damaged pride, this could be helpful. Knowing my past history, it is possible I could have gone to the wrong section and tried to get a sales representative to do the oil change. However, Lydia wasn't finished.
"Take a seat," the note continued. "Have a beverage."
Have a beverage? My over-reliance on lists had brought me to this. Lydia feels she now has to write out my every action! At least there was a modicum of pride to be salvaged; she hadn't told me what beverage to drink.
"Am I really that bad?" I asked.
Lydia laughed. "Sorry, I was just writing down everything the dealer said."
I ended up taking the car in and got a Coke while I waited. Then I went grocery shopping and picked up all the trimmings for a chicken dinner. When I returned home Lydia asked if I remembered the cranberry sauce.
"Um," I mumbled. "It wasn't on the list."
At least I got my beverage.
Kevin Toal is a freelance writer who has yet to write a bucket list.