When I’m in a hurry, I’m no longer sane. I try to speed up everything I do so that I can accomplish all the tasks on today’s to-do list, including those that have been on every today’s to-do list for weeks. I suddenly believe that I have superhuman powers like mental telepathy, laser focus, and light-speed problem-solving ability, and that I will be able to do everything in less time then it takes to swat the fly that’s been annoying me for days.
But then I try to swat the fly and miss, and try again and miss, and now the fly has woken up and realizes that if it ever lands anywhere within reach of my rolled up newspaper, it is dead meat. It starts flying around endlessly, like a U.S. surveillance drone, until it finally lands in a ceiling corner, protected from the full force of my swats. This only incenses me. I am wild to kill this fly (and all other projects on my to-do list), and so I get on a chair and lash out at him repeatedly until I topple onto the kitchen table, knocking over a vase of flowers, which I must then clean up, with the fly dive-bombing while I do, knowing that I am temporarily unarmed and defenseless. I swat at it with my arms and hands and succeed only in smashing my elbow against a wall, right on the funny bone, which sends me sprawling and howling in pain as the fly lands on the back of my neck and bites to remind me who’s boss.
Now I’m even more behind schedule. The fly will just have to wait because I’m late for an appointment – about a day late. I was supposed to go to the eye doctor yesterday, so it seems a little unlikely that I’ll be able to get there in time. But I still need to call them and make some kind of lame excuse as to why I didn’t show and weasel out of having them charge me for a missed appointment and also reschedule so that I can rush around like a madman one day in several weeks when I’ve forgotten that appointment because I’ve once again misplaced my calendar.
Yes, currently at the top of my to-do list is finding my misplaced calendar, and pronto, because it’s causing me all kinds of anxiety. How many more appointments am I missing right now? Undoubtedly, there are important meetings with agents, dealers, bankers, lawyers, buyers, sellers, movie stars and my kid’s math teacher that I’m missing just because I can’t remember what I did with my stupid calendar. This makes me rush around that much more, moving things around and then getting caught up in rearranging them, and sorting out dirty laundry, and paying bills that are overdue, and making desperate phone calls to people I’m possibly supposed to be meeting to see if they are mad at me for being late. Mostly this leads to idle conversation since I can’t really say the reason I’m calling is that I’m an idiot who can’t keep track of his appointments and that I need to ask them to check their calendars and see when we’re supposed to meet so that I can put it on my new calendar that I haven’t yet purchased because I’m so sure my old calendar will show up as soon as I clean every square inch of my house and car and office and yard and garage, and search through all the trash in the garbage cans. Damn it, it’s got to be here someplace! Unless I lost it. Where? The library, the bookstore, the coffee shop? I call all those places and no one knows anything about a Donald Duck notebook calendar left behind, although the coffee shop says there are several pairs of Mickey Mouse sunglasses if I want to come in and try one on to see if it fits. The gas station? Why would I have left my calendar at the gas station? Was I checking it while the car was filling up and left it on top of the roof? Crap, it could have blown off anywhere between there and my house. I’ll need to go out and check every inch of pavement and sidewalk in a two-mile stretch.
I’m just about to run out and do that when the doorbell rings. It’s some kid selling candy to raise money for band equipment, or band-aids, or something or other that our school no longer provides. I’m about to slam the door in his face when I realize that he’s holding a Donald Duck calendar in his hand. “Hi, sir, I saw this outside on your steps and I figured you might want it. It’s starting to rain. Would you buy a chocolate bar to help pay for pencils and paper for our poetry class this year? With the latest budget cutbacks, our teacher says that we’ll just have to memorize all our poems unless we can raise enough to write them down.” I’m so grateful I empty my wallet into the kid’s hands. It looks like more pennies and nickels than he can carry. He smiles and takes off through the oncoming thunder as I rush to look at my calendar.