8-Minute Memoir

Day 10: Messes

September 7, 2016


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  • Reply Anonymous September 8, 2016 at 12:06pm

    Day 10: Messes:

    Brenda Bensch

    I’m feeling harassed, harried, tired, confused and I start forgetting everything, I always think it’s time to clean out my purse. Somehow, putting away things I don’t need to use, being sure the lipsticks match the clothes which go with that purse, finding the last of my minty Life Savers, etc., etc., etc. seems to straighten my life out as well. Actually, this last time, I REALLY did the job right by taking EVERYTHING out of both my red purse and my purple one and putting them both through the wash when I did laundry last Monday (or was it Tuesday? No wonder I was confused: I usually do laundry on Sunday!)

    But I still found myself frustrated, forgetful, tense, for the last few days. My purses hadn’t even been used again untill yesterday, when I put the MOST “needful things” into the red bag to go somewhere. My desk has been PILED with newspapers, clippings, the mss. I’m editing for Kathi, copies of my own UN-finished mss., dishes used multiple times for M&M’s or chocolate raisins. OK, so I started cleaning the desk by eating the small mound of M&M’s I hadn’t finished yesterday. I actually even got down to the bare wood of the desk. Well, by shoving a few decorative pieces around, and wiped it all down. Then I set up 4 fat books to use as a computer “table” and set my giant ergonomic keyboard in front of it. 4 mugs of pencils, pens, markers, scissors, a protractor and a ruler are snugged up to the desk lamp, which has a clear plastic what-not catcher stuffed with a small decorative fan, some pads – two sizes – of Post-Its, and a miscellany of scratch paper, an oddment of paperclips, and a couple of not-quite-dead-yet rubber bands. Oh, and a couple of wrinkly packets of Splenda sweetener. Plugged into the central base of the desk lamp is my Rival hot pot, which boils water in about half a minute. Just to the right, pressing up against one of the cups of writing utensils, is The Random House Dictionary, paperback edition. It’s small but THICK, and necessary when I’m line-editing for friends. In fact, just in front of that, and getting close to the front edge of the desk is the 67 pages I editing for a writer friend yesterday, and a few pages I didn’t get to yet. Oh, and a notice I got in the mail yesterday to call for an annual mammogram appointment. I got breast cancer for the THIRD TIME last winter, and had a DOUBLE MASTECTOMY on Dec. 1, 1915. REALLY? Can’t the hospital computers TALK TO EACH OTHER ? ? ? Talk about a MESS ! ! !

    Lined up against the rest of the back wall is a box of Kleenex, snugged up against the mugs of writing instruments, then a tape dispenser and a GREAT, easy-on-the-hand stapler. From there, the desk is clear, behind my computer which sits forward enough to leave a 6-inch deep swath. A couple of inches past the computer, but shoved well to the back, is a big, brown “apple” which could be used as a paper weight, even if you needed to hold down 500 loose pages of mss. during a hurricane. I think it’s made of cement. Next, is a hole sprouting the cords to my miniscule mug warmer and my computer. Just to the apple’s right is a box perched in its lid with my checkbooks (I need to order some more some time fairly soon), topped with spare batteries for my hearing aid, a small, flat calculator, a dead timer — maybe it only needs new batteries? But what kind? — and an actually working timer which can be set for up to 99 minutes. In front of the box, a tin of Sucrets. “Just in case”, you know.

    I still need to clean the mess off the dining room table: a 4-inch pile of 1915 bills and receipts which must be sorted for what should be kept, and which thrown out — NO! destroyed; an old framed picture of an oriental lake or ocean set upon by several “junks,” as we called them in Hawaii when I was little. A large pill dispenser, which I must fill with all the right things and figure out how to set the timer to signal me for when the next meds are due.

    This is more about clearing messes than it is about the messes themselves. Give me a couple of days, maybe even the whole Friday, Saturday, Sunday weekend, and my desk (like the REST of the house) will be a mess. Again. And AGAIN. AND AGAIN.

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