Author: PVP Village Member Ellen Orenstein
I started thinking about what to write for the Writer’s Group meeting on February 2 as soon as the January Zoom meeting ended. There were many ideas rolling around in my head like marbles – all I had to do was to decide which would be the best to present to the group. There was the unintended consequences of schlepping boxes so the carpet installers could install the carpet that I should have replaced when I moved into my condo, before there was furniture and stuff to move; the story about my mother to bookend the one I had written about my father; 2020, the year, and my vision (somewhat nearsighted) of it; all of the stuff that was found behind the dryer and why I found it, even the earworms that Mary wrote about which have now taken up residency in my brain.
And these are just the thoughts that have pushed themselves to the front of the ‘hard drive’ of my brain and are easily retrievable at this moment. Lately, I have come to think of my brain as a computer, and not one with the latest updates as far as memory is concerned. I’m just a 64K person in a megabyte world. My hard drive is filled with so many bits and bytes, all fighting to get to the front of the line, it’s no wonder that I can get anything accomplished some days. The grocery list tries to push its way to the front to remind me not to forget orange juice when I stop at Trader Joes because the actual grocery list is still on the kitchen counter where I left it when the phone rang to leave a message not to forget my physical therapy the next morning.
I make myself sit down in front of my computer. I start it up, click on my password, then spend a few minutes looking at my children and grandchildren smiling back at me. My screen is a group photo taken at our last family weekend in July, 2020. I wasn’t there, however, as I was having unplanned surgery at TMMC that morning. I must have written about that. Should I look at the Word folder to see if I have? That might be interesting. But first, maybe I should look at my mail.
I have two mailboxes – one is Cox, the other is Google, because Jason, who fixes my computer when I push a key that intuitively, to me anyway, is the correct key, but isn’t, is sure that at some point Cox is no longer going to work, but Google will, so now my mail is duplicated in both mailboxes, most of the time, so I have to delete twice as much mail that I don’t want to read which takes up too much time. And maybe as long as I am in my mail folder, I should look at some of the mail from Amazon, Good Reads and some of the other book sites to see if there is something I want to read. At least eBooks don’t take up any more room on my overstuffed book shelves. It was really a pain to pack up all those books when the carpet layers came. Already mentioned that, oops. And then I can’t not look at the New York Times recipe to see what’s exciting. Today there’s a recipe for Honey-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Harissa and Lemon Relish. I’m not sure what Harissa is, but I can look that up easily. I Google it and find out that it’s a hot chili pepper paste native to the Magreb. Sounds spicey but the recipe only calls for 11/2 tablespoons of it. But before I go on to Word and write something worthy of the Writers Group, maybe I’ll just click on the link to Realmahjong.com because this weeks’ game has been cancelled. Ronnie has got something, not COVID as her test was negative, but Rena’s husband has tested positive so she’s quarantined until she can be retested. I ordered self test kits on-line now that they are available from .Gov and hope they come soon, just in case. CVS is giving away 3 N95 masks/person but I think I got the wrong size, they are so tight they make my face hurt.
A half hour later, I give up on Realmahjong.com as the Maj goddess is definitely not on my side this morning. I pull jokers when I need a pair, need one tile when one of the robots gets maj and quickly pass my frustration level. I avoid answering three robo calls, make another cup of coffee, which needs a cookie to keep it company and tell myself that I’ve gone way past my procrastination limit for the day, probably for the week. Filled with good intentions, I open Word. Before I can hit the new document key, the phone rings again. I have every intention of ignoring the call, or if it’s a number I recognize, tell the caller that I’m busy and will call back, but it’s my grandson, Nathan, who lives in Gainesville, and I take the call. It’s a grandson!
About 45 minutes later, after hearing the latest news about his job, his girlfriend, his skateboarding exploits, a weekend trip they have planned to go to Asheville, not to visit Biltmore, or enjoy the scenery, but because there are several great skate parks there and he and Jasmine really enjoy skateboarding, I say goodbye and hang up the phone.
I open Word, get to a blank page. After I finish explaining why it has taken so long to get to this point, I realize that while explaining the how and why, I’ve written enough. I’m done.