Uppermost House: Forgetting the trash

PeterLewisTreehouseCMYKBy S. Peter Lewis

BN Columnist

Leaving work, I popped open the hatchback of my little red car and tossed in a plastic bag full of trash from my office and slammed the hatch shut, got in the car and took off. Thirty-five seconds later, my mind had wandered off to some bizarre place like Bolivia or Delaware, and so I zipped right past the dumpster, spewing dust, shifted into fourth gear and headed for town. Had errands to do.

Drove to the post office to pick up a friend’s mail and had to go back to the car because I forgot the key to her box. A mile later, at a stop sign, saw at the opposite left corner an adorable house that had just the cutest dormer on it and I knew my wife would get a kick out of it if I could only get a picture; but I was already committed to a right turn and there was a guy hot on my tailpipe, so I turned right and then made the first left I could, hoping to circle back around; but I got all twisted up in some little chalet development and spent a good five minutes noodling around in there before I finally got out.

Drove back to the adorable house, parked across the street and snapped a photo with my phone out the driver’s window, while idling. Felt like a stalker. A stalker of dormers. Probably not a crime.

Drove toward home and realized that I had forgotten to get some stuff out of a storage facility near the post office. Turned around, drove past the adorable house for the fourth time, drove past the post office again, got the stuff out of storage and then drove past the post office yet once again and the adorable house for the fifth time. Wondered if I had locked the door to the storage place, so turned around and did it all again, twice, since I still had to come back around. That’s seven laps past the adorable house, if you’re counting (yeah, it’s complicated.)

Felt like one of those automatic vacuum robots that run randomly over the floors of rich people’s living rooms, bouncing off walls without volition. Imagined someone watching the path of my little red car from some Google Earth live video feed (if there is such a thing) and calling the police. Officer: “Sir, do you know your name?”

Finally aligned correctly and driving without a care in the world toward home. Halfway around a traffic rotary remembered that my wife needed toner (not personally, for her printer) and so made one complete lap of the rotary, waving awkwardly at a bewildered guy in a pickup, thence on to Staples for said toner and then back into rotary. Halfway around again, said aloud to the air, “I’d really like to go to Starbucks,” so finished another complete lap, went to get a grandé iced decaf (with room), then back through rotary (exiting halfway this time), then drove home without further incident (as far as I can remember).

Got home and pulled into the garage and went around to the back of my little red car and lifted the hatch for no apparent reason and stared at the trash bag from work. Just stood there with one hand on the hatch and a dumb look on my face. It’s a common look for me.

When I started this column I had a point in mind, some takeaway that would make all of your lives easier. Like one of Aesop’s fables. Or tack on some clever ending-zinger, like in an O. Henry story. Can’t remember what it was.

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