Bananas. We were out of bananas.
And that meant that I had to go to the store. Not just for bananas, you understand; I needed other stuff too. I’m too lazy — usually — to go to the store for just one thing. It’s just that bananas (like monkeys, farts and a few well-chosen words) are inherently funny. Anyway, when I went to the store my first thought was ‘mathematicians.’ My second was ‘pigeons.’ And that led to holes. Naturally.
And people say grad school taught me nothing.
Anyway, that led to thinking about mathematics (again), about birds, about the internet and, eventually, about this blog. In particular, it occurred to me that after forty-four months I really don’t have a pigeonhole to, um, pigeon it into. It’s not a ‘travel blog’, it’s not a ‘fashion blog’, it’s not a ‘food blog.’ What is it? When people ask me, I often say that it’s about public urination but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. (Or even most of it.) I guess I need a word for ‘things that make me stop and wonder “what’s up with that?” while trying not to drool too much.’ Haven’t thought of one yet, though.
One consequence of this hard-to-describe ‘theme’ is that I tend to talk about things that happen around me or to me and don’t talk about me all that much. For one thing I’m not really comfortable talking about myself; that probably means that if I try to I’ll do a lousy job of it. Plus, of course, I’m really not that interesting a person (unless you consider ‘difficult and annoying’ and ‘interesting’ to mean the same thing — something most people, um, don’t). But recently a few things that I have mentioned about myself became part of something that happened that might be moderately entertaining.
Those things are
I wear glasses
I’m not as young as once I was
there is a long-suffering Ms. Rose who is less annoying and difficult than I am.
Let’s talk about glasses.
I’ve worn glasses, off-and-on, for more than forty years. (There was a chimpanzee involved with the acquisition of my first pair but there’s been no simian influence since then. At least, not that I remember.) I need them for distance — in my younger days they were required in order to read blackboards at school, especially from the back of the room. (Because hateful misanthropes often sit at the back.) These days mostly I need them to watch reruns on TV and drive to the store to buy bananas. Because, being of A Certain Age, for a lot of day-to-day stuff they just make things harder. Can I wear them and edit this text if it’s in 10-point Courier? It’s doable if I’m not tired and the contrast is just right, but it’s definitely harder. Can I read the morning paper even though it’s not in 10 point Courier? Ditto. Can I tell the difference between an unwanted weed and an expensive perennial? That’s a little easier but still pretty ditto-ish. And, unlike many of my peers, I remain bifocal-free.
Which means that — especially at home — I take my glasses off a lot. And when I do that, I tend to put them down so that I have two free hands. And when I do that I have a habit of walking away when I see something shiny. I hear the siren call of idiot strings but I’m resisting it. So far.
Actually, it turns out not so much. Because they were where they were supposed to be.
To explain: I’ve attempted to combat the where-did-I-leave-my-glasses-THIS-time problem by designating several ‘safe spaces’ where I allow myself to leave them. Places like next to my keyboard. The bedside nightstand. The table next to where I prepare dinner. Sensible places. Logical places. And, most importantly, a small number of carefully enumerated places. Because finding glasses without glasses is a pain in the…
It’s just a pain, okay?
This scheme has the advantages of clarity and simplicity. Plus it works pretty well. Except when it doesn’t. Well, it’s a fairly new system, there were bound to be some bugs to work out.
One day last month I couldn’t find my glasses. Well, that happens all the time. I’ll just look in the places The System says they’re allowed to be. I did… and they weren’t there. Worse, they weren’t in any of the ‘not-technically-allowed-but-you’ve-put-them-there-before places. Even worse than that, after I did the ‘retrace-your-steps-when-do-you-remember-having-them-last’ thing I wasn’t even sure what house I had been in when I last had them. Well, that was unfortunate. So I called in some help. I asked the long-suffering-but-less-annoying-than-me Ms. Rose. I told random guys from the curling club. I sent email to a nice lady who lives in New York City and who has the same name as Ms. Rose. I contemplated putting it on twitter but didn’t since I hate twitter.
In short I passed the word: “Have you seen me in the last few days? Do you see my glasses? They look like something Larry King might wear.”
Apparently not. No one had seen them. Damn.
But then, some days later, TLSBLATM Ms. Rose needed a rag for something; I don’t think I ever asked. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a problem: we keep a bucket of them in the laundry room next to the washing machine. And there in the bucket, resting atop some ripped-up old sweatpants, were my glasses. She picked them up and presented them to me without comment. She didn’t ask “What were you THINKING?” She didn’t ask “Why WEREN’T you thinking?” She didn’t say “You IDIOT!” She didn’t say anything remotely judgmental at all.
So I learned four things.
I learned that my unbelievably clever system does have bugs. One of the biggest appears to be… me.
I learned that, while I might need more allowed/safe spaces for my glasses, the pail of cleaning supplies in the laundry room probably shouldn’t be added to the list.
I learned that Ms. Rose isn’t just less annoying than me — she’s much MUCH less annoying than me. I guess I need a new acronym.
I learned that reruns aren’t significantly less enjoyable if you can’t actually see them.