What a mild winter we have–the lack of snow is a bit alarming. If you don’t know anything about Chicago, you should know that the weather adheres to no rules, no sense of logic, no rhyme or reason known to mankind. Not even Tom Skilling. And Tom Skilling knows his . . . showalter stability index (that’s a real thing; I looked it up).
Anyway. Our winter has been pretty mild so far (knock on wood), and the fall was really nice too. Or is this still considered fall? Not to my calendar it isn’t.
Well, that’s a little beside the point. So I have this trait that some may find frustrating and borderline annoying, but someone may find it totally endearing, enchanting, adorable. Dare I say, entirely charming? (I don’t think those who know me would agree with these latter descriptions). So here it is: I have a terrible memory. Not for lack of good intentions, though, mind you.
I really, truly, want to remember things. However, there is some part of my brain that doesn’t let me. I am some sort of goldfish turned human.
Okay, so not too long ago, on a beautiful autumn evening in early-mid September we (who’s this “we”??) decided to start a bonfire in the backyard. We bought a starter log, and there are three trees all chopped up in handheld pieces ready to burn at our command.
Without matches in the house, all I could find was the long-handled lighter. You know, the kind with the trigger. It worked like a charm.
The fire was small but warm. It crackled and popped in a delicious way that Rice Krispie cereal will never be able to amount to. That was a nice night. Look at me, remembering things!
Anyway, fast forward to October. My mom noticed the porch chairs were missing. Verbatim, “I think we’ve been robbed.”
[A/N: This next bit is my own dramatization because my memory fails me, but this was the gist of the conversation].
“Do you know where the porch chairs are? They’re missing.”
“How can they be missing? Who would steal porch chairs?”
“I don’t know, but they’re not there.”
“Wow, Mom. I’m telling yah, the suburbs . . . hooligan teenagers running around town lookin’ to stir up trouble.”
And then it dawned on me. Our chairs weren’t stolen. Our chairs weren’t missing. Our chairs were on the patio in the backyard . . . not on the deck. Whoops. We brought chairs to have something to sit around the bonfire with. Of course. Duh. That was a month ago.
My mom told me to bring them back . . . I don’t know if they magically moved themselves back to their proper spot, but I don’t think I remembered to do it.
A few weeks later my mom was looking for the lighter. Did I know where it was? No.
She needed the lighter again for my uncles birthday because, clearly, how can you light candles without fire? Did I know where it was? No.
A few days later . . .
Mom: I saw the lighter in the backyard. I wonder how it got there.
Ahhhh, that. Makes a lot of sense. I know how it got there. It was me. I brought it out. I made a fire. In the fire pit. I made a bonfire. With that lighter. I left the lighter out on the patio. That was me.
Mom: You should bring it in before somebody runs off with it.
Ok. Sure thing. No problem. I’ll do that in the afternoon . . .
That didn’t happen. November is when she asked me to bring it in. It is currently December.
Some days I remember to remind myself to do it. But by that time it’s already dark. And I’m already in bed, ready for a night of dreams. But whilst drifting off to a land my brain creates, some little poltergeist in my head will flash my retinas with an image of the lighter in the backyard. The lighter! For a second or so I get really anxious. I slap my forehead. I groan. I roll my eyes. I sigh. Heavily.
How could I forget?? Again!
But that quickly passes when I soothe myself with the promise of bringing it back inside tomorrow morning . . .
Days go by until the process repeats itself because, obviously, I did not remember when morning came. I went about my days in blissful forgetfulness. Night hits and somehow something triggers my memory.
I’m actually writing this now so that I can remember. So much suspense! Are you at the edge of your seat wondering, what will happen tomorrow? Will she remember? Will it be gone? What will she do?
I don’t know what it was tonight, but something reminded me. Tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day I bring it in . . .
P.S. I’m sure you are wondering if I remembered. I did not. Perhaps I should go do that right now . . .
P.P.S. I did. I finally got it. But I also wanted to share the email my mother sent me. I hope you enjoy it because I think the truer version is funnier. (Notice I used “truer” because my version is also a truth, bent a little by my own awful memory, however hers is just more true than mine. But mine’s still an offshoot of the truth). Anyway, without further adieu: