The other day I had a ridiculous early meeting at school and then a preposterous late meeting at the theater, so when I came home it was dark. The motion detector on the light at my back door had burned out, so I fumbled for my keys, and when I finally turned the door knob, it was all caked with mud.
“Oh no! I’ve been robbed again!” I thought. Some crook with muddy hands had broken in and ransacked my home and stolen all the worldly goods his criminal brethren (I believe that’s the second time in as many posts that I’ve managed to use that word, but who’s counting, right?) had overlooked the last time I got jacked. The house was dark as I made my way through the kitchen and flipped on the light.
False alarm! Nothing was amiss, nothing awry. Yay! Tragedy averted, confidence restored, worldly goods safely hidden in a box under the brown boots in the bottom left hand corner of my closet. Hmmm… perhaps I’ve said too much…
Still one thing puzzled me; why had my door knob been mud encrusted? I poured a glass of wine and mentally relived my day…
Alarm goes off. Nina Tottenberg talking loudly, then louder. I hit snooze. Second alarm goes off. This one is in the living room. I throw first alarm clock at second, but miss. I have to get up. I do, and remember the early meeting. I get dressed in a hurry. My shirt is inside out. I make coffee and decide I really should shower. I do, cuz I’m professional like that. Time’s ticking. Gotta make that meeting. We’ll be talking about foldables and word walls*, and I can’t be late for that. I put on my little teacher shoes and go outside. Forgot my lunch, gotta go back in. Notice I also forgot my coffee. No wonder I’m so sluggish. Lock up, head out. From inside I hear my cell phone. Forgot my cell phone. Dammit! It’s my mom. She’s calling to make sure I’m up. She’s a real nice lady, and we have a real nice chat. I lock up again and go outside. I’m going to be a teeny bit late for the meeting, but I’ll still be able to sign in as if I cared about making it on time. It’s been raining all night. My little kitten heel sinks in the mud, and then…wait…it’s all coming back to me…then, knowing I was about to be mighty late, I went over to the garden and dug my hand in the ground, to feel just how much it had rained. Plenty, as it turned out. That garden was muddy, I tell you what. That’s what happens when it rains. And that reminded me that I was supposed to present an article about recycling in the classroom, so I went back inside to get it, and then I headed off to school, where I was 20 minutes late for the meeting, but, as it turned out, didn’t miss anything of consequence.
Mystery solved! I darkened my own doorknob! And look! There, on my wrist and palm, a streak of mud remained. Still there, after all the doo-dah day.
I still don’t know why I felt the need to touch the dirt, or why I sabotage myself so that I’m late for inane meetings every time they are held, or why when I touch a dirty doorknob I immediately assume I’ve been robbed. Such is the mystery that is me. I am not proud of the fact that I walked around from dusk until dawn with a yucky dirty hand, or that I never succeeded in washing it off, though I swear to you I really do wash my hands whenever I…well, at the usual times when people wash their hands for all of those reason that we do. I don’t even know why I’ve written about the whole episode here; it’s not really interesting, and is probably better left unsaid.
It’s official; I am an enigma, even to myself.
* Foldables are papers that you fold. Word walls are words you stick on the wall. This is what high school administrators think will save the youth of America from failing test scores and a depressing creativity crisis. Both “strategies” are mandatory in my school, according to the bonehead who led the meeting I should have skipped.