Dawn Does "Ditzy" in Three Acts
The scene is early in the morning, about 6:45 a.m., and Bobby and I are both preparing to go to work. Bobby makes himself some oatmeal, so I ask him to leave the kettle on so that I can use what's left of the hot water to make the travel mug of tea that I require to get through my hour-and-fifteen-minute morning commute.
I am not a morning person, so it generally takes me forever and a half to get ready, not because I concern myself with vanities like putting on makeup or even combing my hair, but because I tend to find myself in the middle of doing things but really staring into space for the past five minutes.
So, by the time I get to the kettle, much of the water has been boiled away.
To understand how Act I concludes, one must understand our tea kettle. It is a two-piece kettle, with a separate lid that in no way locks into the kettle itself, thus easily dislodging itself. Because I didn't want to put on more water and didn't want to chance watering down my
I tipped it until the lid tumbled right off and onto the floor.
Which released all the steam trapped in there for fifteen minutes by that point, directly onto the first knuckles of my right hand clutching the kettle.
And I still had to top off my travel mug with warm water from the tap.
Needless to say, my knuckles screamed at me all the way to work. They are now a charming pink color and puffed up a little, but no blisters so far, and they've chilled out enough that I can comfortably type. Right now, I don't feel inclined to ask for much more than that.
I would forget to bring my head with me if it was not attached to my shoulders and further attached to my person by virtue of my long hair, which tends to get caught down in my trousers and so on. I forget my travel mug at work just about every other day. This I know because, every other day, I have to take Bobby's.
Today, I was determined not to forget it. Determined!
When I go to work, I more resemble a pack mule tricked out for a two-week trek across a featureless desert than a young woman going to work at her quiet office job. First is Pengolodh Lord of Gondolin, who travels in his laptop case (yes, Gondolin) and is as heavy as the super-tall "real" Pengolodh Lord of Gondolin probably would have been, enough that I have to walk on a slant to shoulder his weight. Add to that one or two cinder-block-sized literature anthologies for my schoolwork. One will usually fit in Gondolin with Pengolodh; the other usually has to be carried in my arms. Also in my arms is my hardback paper Bag of Weasels. Half of the week, I take my lunch in an old grocery sack, which may or may not include a gallon-sized glass jar of water (since I trust the public water in Jessup about as much as I trust drinking the water that pools out back on the parking pad). And of course my purse, which is large enough to hold a paperback book; that and a strap long enough to wear it over my shoulder are my only two requirements for a purse. Finally is, of course, the travel mug of tea.
The only things that I can remember to bring to and from work with me are Pengolodh and my schoolbooks. So, if I want to remember to take something home with me, I either have to put it in Gondolin or set it on top of my schoolbooks on my desk.
So, upon finishing my tea today, I sat the travel mug on top of my schoolbooks so that I would not forget it.
However, because I had not yet begun my schoolwork, then I had to move it again in order to open the books to read them. Which set me up to forget the travel mug, which I did.
Luckily for me, it was not all a wash. Once I got in the car and realized my error, I also realized that I had left Bobby's travel mug in the car the day prior. Well here was something of an opportunity for redemption! I could barely carry all that I had with me anyway, so I would bring Bobby's mug into the house with me rather than mine, wash it up, and use it tomorrow, per tradition. Tomorrow, hopefully, I could remember to bring mine home and bring them both into the house.
I drove home (see Act III). Upon arrival, I made a very strong mental note to remember Bobby's travel mug. Because it was very warm today, I wore a sweater instead of my coat to work but didn't wear the sweater in the car driving home because it was too hot. So I wrapped the travel mug in the sweater and went into the house.
After talking to Bobby for a few minutes, I realized that I had left the travel mug outside in the car. Again. Thoroughly pissed at myself, I debated whether I wanted to go back outside for it. Well, in the meantime, I decided to hang up my sweater.
In the process of unfolding it, out rolled the travel mug, which I had forgotten that I hadn't forgotten.
Last night, it was raining. Bobby needs a new windshield wiper on his car, so when he went out to pickup hockey, he asked me if he could use my car instead. Of course I didn't mind.
I have a bitter loathing of certain small tasks in life and put off doing them as long as I can. I am a master of both delayed gratification and delayed mortification. Putting gas in the car is one thing I do not like to do. I don't know why; it's such a stupid thing. But, throughout the week, I watch the gas gauge and try to estimate how many times I can make it to work and back before I will need to fill up, and I'm really annoyed if I don't make it to my goal. I'm also really annoyed if I do, because I still have to put gas in the car.
I had figured out earlier in the week that I would need to fill up on Thursday morning. What I didn't figure was Bobby taking my car to hockey. No mind; I had enough to get to work. I would stop on the way home.
I even left work five minutes early to remind myself!
I work in Jessup, which is quite literally the location of half the state prisons in Maryland. So it's not the nicest place to get gas, what with recently released prisoners walking down to the B&W Parkway to hitch-hike all the time.
So I really didn't want to fill up in Jessup. Besides the fact that every pump in Jessup seems to have some weird malfunction. Either it won't let me lock the handle in place or it pumps about a gallon per minute, ensuring that I am standing outside watching the ex-cons strolling past for a good fifteen minutes or so.
I thought about stopping in Columbia, but Columbia is so expensive.
But I had enough to make it up the interstate to my exit, where there is a Citgo about a mile off my route home. I would stop there.
I should mention that I had to take a detour to return a library book. Bobby and I went out on Monday for me to buy ice cream ingredients and return the book, and I forgot to bring the book. I put it in my car the next morning so that I wouldn't forget again. Yesterday, it was raining and traffic was awful, so I didn't stop. It was a beautiful day today, though, so I figured I'd detour into Westminster too before my overdue fines force us to take out a second mortgage on the house.
Somewhere between deciding not to stop for gas in Columbia and getting off the interstate, I forgot to detour to the Citgo. I did, however, remember to go into Westminster, where there are lots of gas stations. However, I failed to remember to stop at one of them.
Library book returned, I headed home to Manchester. When the light at Hampstead-Mexico Road (no it does not go to "real" Mexico) turned green, I put my foot on the gas and ...
The car finally lurched reluctantly forward. At which point I realized, Oh shit, I forgot to stop for gas!
I do not know how an otherwise intelligent woman sets off for more than an hour-long drive home with the gas gauge nearly on E--and fully realizes this!--and then proceeds to forget, over the course of the next hour-and-a-half, all about that fact. I suppose the same way that I forgot about the cup I deliberately rolled into my sweater and forgot about the existence of gravity.
The next three miles or so going home were interesting. Luckily, Route 27 has a wide shoulder all along, so I knew that if the car suddenly conked out, I could easily coast out of the way of traffic. I tried coasting most of the way home, which worked half of the time, since I live in the foothills of the Appalachians. So it worked whenever I was rolling downhill. Uphill was another story. There is a Sheetz in town, and I briefly pondered passing the ol' homestead and filling up there, but all I could imagine was waiting at the light in town and the car conking out and being the cause of a backup all the way down 27. So I decided to try to make it home instead and use what Bobby had in the gas can for the lawnmower to make it to the Sheetz tomorrow morning.
Since we live just a little downhill from the highest point in Carroll County, there is no way to get to our house but up unless you start in an aircraft. It is really interesting driving up a steep hill with a nearly empty tank of gas. The car would jerk forward a few meters, lose power, jerk forward again, lose power ... I was convinced that I was going to break down at any moment, but I made all the way up the hill to home.
Now, the key tomorrow will be remembering that I need to get gas before driving down to Jessup because I will not be able to make that journey on E twice!