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.
- Fingerprint powder is black and sticky. Very sticky.
- If you drive a dusted car without first draping seats, doors, and steering wheel, you’ll be sorry.
- Fingerprint dusters don’t clean up after themselves.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Now, before I fall further behind, I shall stop, post, and move on.
Find a list of all A to Z Blogging participants here.