B Is for Behind: #atozchallenge

A story from my friend the high school business teacher:

A student in her bookkeeping class asked what arrears means.

Said the teacher, “It means you’re behind.”

And twenty-five shocked teenage faces stared in profound silence.

***

 

I’m behind. Nothing new. I don’t live a hurry-up-and-wait existence; mine is wait-and-hurry-up.

The condition won’t be cured by planners, lists, date books, Google calendars, anti-procrastination classes, or prayer and fasting. I’ve tried them all.

I’m a compulsive organizer. Back in the day, I owned a series of Franklin planners: big, little, zippered, non-zippered, black, colored (red and teal). If anything could have organized me, that teal planner would have done it.

In a sad development, the teal planner disappeared from my car in late August of 1998, the night before the first day of faculty in-service. I went out in the morning and found the driver’s side window open; the seat where I’d left two tote bags was empty.

I called 911. The local constable came out and said he knew who did it–they lived next door to the post office a few blocks away, and they were the ones who did everything around there–but the authorities wouldn’t be able to prove it. A deputy sheriff came out and dusted for fingerprints but found only the ones I’d left when I closed the door.

I was late to work, which wasn’t a problem because I missed only the meeting at which nothing happens except coffee and donuts. I learned more from the breaking-and-entering experience than I would have at the meeting.

To wit:

  1. Fingerprint powder is black and sticky. Very sticky.
  2. If you drive a dusted car without first draping seats, doors, and steering wheel, you’ll be sorry.
  3. Fingerprint dusters don’t clean up after themselves.
  4. People who steal from parked cars will take anything and everything. They got my favorite tote bag, the one displaying the Edward Gorey tuxedo cat lying across a stack of books, and the caption, “books. cats. life is sweet.” That bag meant a lot to me. So did the teal Franklin planner with zipper and page after page of contact information that I’d recently compiled and entered in my neatest handwriting. [As in, I organized it.] The can of asparagus wasn’t all that important to me, or probably to them, but they took it. What galls me–even today–is that I know the entire haul ended up in the river.
  5. If you leave a car in front of your house, as I did, instead of pulling it into the driveway, someone will break into it. If you pull the car into the driveway, the same people will break into it. Evidence: An electrician who spent that night with his mom, just around the corner, parked his van in her driveway. The next morning–a broken window and no equipment.
  6. If you’re going to park a car where it’s an easy target, make sure it’s a rental car. My car was in the shop overnight and I was driving a little Geo Metro the color of Pepto-Bismol. At the end of the day, I returned it to the agency, picked up my well-oiled car, and headed home. Somebody else dealt with the sticky black stuff.
  7. If you’ve lived all your life in a small town where people never bothered to lock their doors when they went on vacation, and you think you’re still living in that same small town, you’re wrong.

But I digress. And that’s one reason I’m behind.

Before turning in, I must post this for A to Z Blogging and then complete two more writing assignments, one for a critique group, another for an informal class in memoir. Tomorrow I have to put out my Sisters in Crime chapter’s newsletter–and put up my C post for A to Z Blogging–and then the next tomorrow there’s the D post–

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;

and when I get there, there’ll be one more thing to write.

Such pressure!

And the crazy part–my teenaged English-student-self would never have believed it–it’s all self-imposed. Nobody makes me do this. I blog for myself; I do blog challenges for myself; I take writing classes for myself; I write stories for myself; I go to critique group for myself.

Because I want to.

Crazy.

Now, before I fall further behind, I shall stop, post, and move on.

***

Find a list of all A to Z Blogging participants here.

***

 

Image of fingerprint by stux, via pixabay

 

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