We need milk, bread and cheese, I might think to myself, chanting the words repeatedly inside my head until I can find a pen to write them on my hand. Oh right, we need some dental floss too. Oh good ““ I found a pen. Now what was it I needed again?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a “list girl”, making “to-do” lists, “to get” lists and “to write” lists.
“Sam!” our six-year-old daughter yelled at her nine-year-old brother the other day in the car when she didn’t like the tone he used with her. “That is no way to speak to a woman!”
Finding that funny and not wanting to forget, I pulled over to the side of the road to write it down. If I hadn’t, I’m quite certain I would have forgotten her exact words, or maybe that she had said it at all.
Even in my dreams I’ll be inspired creatively and sometimes get a seemingly brilliant idea, but within seconds of waking up I’ve lost it forever. Unless, of course, I’m lucky enough to record it before it escapes my overcrowded brain.
As a result of my ongoing problem, I have a lot of pens, note pads and sticky notes in my life.
“Are you kidding me here?” my friend asked the other day when she got in my car and saw all the Post-its that were stuck to the dashboard. “Are you feeling a little overwhelmed or something?”
But that’s the thing about getting these thoughts out of my head and onto the paper ““ I immediately feel less overwhelmed. Once it’s written down, I no longer have the stress of trying to remember. It’s actually an enormous relief.
Of course, if one of those notes falls off my dashboard and gets stuck to the bottom of my shoe and then disengages itself from me outside of my car I might be in big trouble. This happened the day I lost the “get gas” note and ended up stuck on the bridge for almost an hour, without fuel.
I then needed to write a new note: “pay ticket.” Naturally that one was far less urgent.
Lily Tomlin once described having “Teflon brain ““ nothing sticks.” I first heard this phrase when I was a kid and I didn’t get it. As a busy working mother of two, I now understand it all too well.
“You have your bag behind your car,” someone informed me one day as I was hurrying my kids into the beetle bug to get one of them to soccer and one of them to baseball.
“Thanks!” I said. “It’s my laptop! I wouldn’t want to drive over that!”
After getting the kids buckled up, their bags into the front seat and running back into the house again for their water bottles, I jumped in the car and backed out of the driveway and onto the road.
“What’s that sound?” the kids asked me after I wondered the exact same thing.
“That’s my computer wedged under the car and scraping along the road,” I said far too calmly, pulling over to assess the damage.
Perhaps I could use a few Post-its that say: “slow down”, “breathe” and “don’t rely on sticky notes.”