Sex & relationships

A List is Just a List



I’m a list-maker.  I love lists.  Lists help me feel organized and in control of my world.  Writing the list is an act of achievement in itself.  I don’t have to cross off a single item to feel a sense of accomplishment.  I made a list!  I write down errands to run, groceries to buy, bills to pay.  There are pieces of paper all around my house and in pockets and bag, documented proof that I am in charge and productive.  Without my lists, I feel, well, listless. Mind you, I am not known for completing everything on a list but rather starting new lists with leftover tasks from old lists and a few new tasks added.

Lists don’t make people productive.  People make people productive.

I received an email from the principal at Levi’s school today with information about buses and required school supplies for each grade.  A list!  I must make a list of all the supplies he needs!  And while I’m at it, I need to start thinking about the clothes that they need for the fall.  Both boys seemed to have shot up over the summer, and they’re not going to have a thing to wear.  I needed a clothing list.  And while I was making the clothing list, I noticed that I had voice mail messages on my landline phone.  I grabbed my pen in order to compose a list of all calls I needed to return.

Lists beget lists.

While I listened carefully to the messages in order to write down each name and telephone number, it took me a minute to decode the last message on my phone from a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months.  The words were perfectly articulated, but my brain was remixing them so that they sounded less like, “I’m getting a divorce,” and more like “I’m cutting it in fourths.”  Fourths?  Is that an expression I don’t know?  Is that what you say when you are spread too thin?   No, because then you’d just say that you’re spread to thin.

But as the recording continued, I managed to figure out that my friend was finally getting out of a relationship that had been causing her pain for a long time.  I was happy for her.  I knew that after the painful process of separating, she would find herself again and feel lighter.  I wrote her name and number on my list and circled it.  I drew a star on the side and took stock.

The end of summer leading into fall is always a stressful time for me.  The quiet days of barefooted leisure amp up at warp speed until I’m up to my forehead in school and house and work.  I affix lists everywhere though little seems to get done.  I am not looking forward to the transition to fall.  But even though I feel the panic of shorter days and cooler nights setting in, I take comfort in the things that remain constant: my friends, my kids, my wife.

Lists allow me to stay on top of the few things I can control, but there will always be hiccups and unexpected turns.

I took a deep breath as if I was bracing myself for pain, and then I exhaled slowly, releasing the stress of the unknown.  Then I made a list of all the things and people in my life that gave me happiness, and nothing could abate the joyful smile that covered my face that day.

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  1. I love lists. My husband makes fun of me each time I go to make a new one. But I do. Ahhh. Sweet accomplishment.

  2. Listless is the priceless take away from this whole deal.

  3. I like to plagiarize other people’s lists. Perhaps there’s a value to be had from pairing list-makers with list-challenged people?

  4. Pingback: Happy 5774! | VillageQ

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