It’s a given that I don’t go anywhere on the first try. My coworkers know this. My wife knows this. Even my car knows this. If I got into my driver’s seat and turned the ignition key on my first voice, a pleasant electronic voice would say, “Wait, Bill, what did you forget?”
There’s a sign on the back door at work that specifically asks if I’ve remembered everything before I go – computer, hat, camera, wallet, keys. It doesn’t ask if I’ve remembered my shoes or pants because, generally, I don’t take those off in the office. Sitting around in your underwear and socks is a privilege men should only practice in front of the TV, at home.
I’m as bad at home as I am at work.
For instance, here is what it took to get to work today:
1. Get everything together. This time you’re going to do it. Around a kitchen chair pile backpack with computer and cables, two camera bodies, camera bag, coffee cup.
2. Start for the door with all this stuff.
3. Reach the door. Notice the coffee is cold.
4. Set the stuff down and go back to nuke the coffee in the microwave. The camera bag is over my shoulder so, while the coffee heats, I set it on the floor beside it.
5. Realize I don’t have my iPad that is in the bedroom. Do I need it? You never know. Go back to the bedroom.
6. Realize I need to brush my teeth. I do that and go back to the kitchen.
7. Walk right past the microwave.
8. Head out the door, grabbing the backpack and cameras.
9. Just as I’m about to lock the door I remember that I locked myself out two days ago. I check for keys: sure enough, I’m about to do it again.
10. Set all my gear beside the car and head back for the keys.
11. Grabbing my keys I notice my camera bag on the floor by the microwave. I pick that up and go out the door.
12. It occurs to me that, the reason I put the bag there was that I was microwaving coffee. I set the bag down by the door and go back for the coffee.
13. Reheat the coffee. Oh, wait! The iPad!
14. I go back to the bedroom and, through the bathroom window, notice a cardinal at the feeder. I watch him for a couple of minutes then go back for the coffee.
15. On the way I realize I’ve got all that gear outside by the car, unprotected. I forget about the coffee and go take care of that.
16. Starting the car, I have no lunch. I’m starting to run late, so I figure I’ll get sandwich, crackers and an apple. That’ll be easy.
17. I get to the door, and there’s my camera bag sitting beside it. I take it to the car before I forget again.
18. I realize again I don’t have lunch. I set the bag down and go back to the house and actually grab an apple and some crackers. Going toward the front door the apple falls out of my hand, bounces twice on the floor, then rolls down the steps that go outside. No, I’m not having sandwich crackers and an apple for lunch. I’m having sandwich crackers and applesauce wrapped in skin.
19. I start the car and realize I forgot something. Ah. The iPad.
20. I go back to the door and stand there wondering what on earth I went back to the door for. I give up and return to the car.
21. I go to work where I realize I never did get my iPad. I head out for a photo assignment and, thinking I may need to switch lenses, go for my camera bag. It’s back home. Leaning against a tree where I park my car.
22. Obviously it’s going to be one of those days. A cup of coffee would be great right now.
23. Too bad it’s in the microwave back home.
1, Contact Bill Hand at firstname.lastname@example.org. 2, call him at 252-635-5677. 3, follow him at BillHandNBSJ. 4, Tell him to get back to you. 5, Take bets on whether he remembers to do so.