Don't Be Listless

There’s a lot of talk now about making a bucket list. I love when a Morgan Freeman movie makes you want to improve your life, become a better person and change the world. I’m still riding high on the moral of the story from Bruce Almighty:  God wants you to have clean floors.

I don’t have a bucket list, but it’s on my list of things to do. Well, it’s not yet on my actual list of things to do, but it’s on my list of lists to make when I am revamping my lists.

Because that’s how I get things done. I live from master list to calendar list to daily things-to-do list, to a “done list” to an archived list. Then I go to bed (last item on the list) and the next day I start over with a new list.

I’ve always been this way, for as long as I could remember. When I was little, I used to play library, which consisted of lining up all of our books in the hall and making lists of the titles and authors and then writing down fictional people’s names who checked them out. 

My list-making reached epic proportions when I was a teenager. Every day I would make a list of things to do before I went to school:

Wake up 6:50
Wash face 6:50-6:55
Brush teeth 6:55-7:00
Put makeup on 7:00-7:12
Plug in electric rollers 7:12-7:13
Get dressed 7:13-8:22

I am not kidding. I not only did these lists, but I taped them to the mirror in the only bathroom in our house, where my sisters, the Queens of Sarcasm, had a field day with them.

And then in my junior year of high school, my biology teacher, Mr. Sostaric, was giving us tips on how to study and nearly pushed me from the brink of mere quirkiness right over the edge into mental illness.

“While you’re brushing your teeth, (and here he would simulate teeth brushing, his hand going back and forth in the mouth area) go over the subphyla for arthropods . . . hexapods . . . crustacea . . . ” Every other 16-year-old in the class is looking at him, thinking, “What kind of dweeb do you think I am? Quizzing myself on crusty bugs while I’m getting ready for school?” I, meanwhile, am furiously jotting down: “NOTE TO SELF: Add ‘study arthropods’ to bathroom list!!!!!!”

This is what happens when you start making lists: First it’s fun and rewarding. You feel good about walking through the grocery store with your list. And then before you know it, you’re sneaking out of work early to file your lists at home in your secret drawer.  Then you give into the temptation to buy a special pen just for your lists. Soon you realize, your lists are not a crutch anymore, you’re an addict. You try to go one whole day without a list of things to do and you find yourself etching “do laundry” into your forearm with your fingernail.

I’m now a super secret list maker. I never show anyone my lists. They don’t include “wash face” anymore, but my sisters taught me to keep my list love in the closet. 

I went onto flickr and looked at other people’s lists. It’s amazing that people are not embarrassed about their list making; in fact, they post them on the Internet right alongside their photos from their vacation to Italy for anyone to see. 

There are some crazy things on the same lists: here are some. Some are really more like bucket lists and some are things to do at that moment. Some are both.

Make cute skirt.  Stop smoking crack. (Not necessarily in that order, I hope.)

Buy a cool hat. Go to Africa. (I think these two go together nicely.)

Confession. Police/Police/Police. (This one was found in a bus station.)

Go ice skating. Korean folk village. (??)

Take pics of zodiac jello mould. Key lime cupcakes. (I like this girl!)

Eyebrows. Massage? Taxes. (Could be a schizophrenic . . .)

Donate blood. Land mine museum. (This guy is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.)

Some of these people are worse than me. I think there’s hope for me, actually. Because at least one of the items on my bucket list will be to kick the list habit before I go to the nursing home and have to share a bathroom with sarcastic people.