am looking for matches. I have decided it would be the best thing
for everyone involved if I burned down our house. You look shocked.
Donít be. I do not have any criminal intent, no desire for destruction,
no attraction to arson. I have simply reached my breaking point.
I am looking for matches, in addition to my shoes, my car keys and
my work badge, because I do not know where anything is right now.
I know in general that things are in boxes. These boxes, however,
could be anywhere. They could be in the old house. They could be
in the new house. They could be sitting on the porch accidently
mixed up with the things waiting to be picked up for donation. They
could be in the trunk of my car or in the moving van or even mixed
up in the mountain of stuff sitting on the curb waiting for Big
And why is this so, you ask? Didnít you know you were going to have
to pack up 14 years worth of detritus, sort it, label it, transport
it? Didnít it occur to you as you had to live in your house for
six weeks trying to avoid leaving any clue that it was inhabited
by beings who showered and so used towels, ate and so dirtied dishes,
so that the house would be in a constant state of magazine photo
orderliness at all times for prospective buyers? Did it not sink
into my brain, you ask, that if you put your house up for sale it
might be sold and then you would have to move?
The answer is "no." I understood in theory that we would be moving.
Just like I understand in theory that some day I will get old and
die. I understood that the dozens of strangers who trooped through
our house, eating the cookies we put out for them, leaving the closet
doors open, the lights on and the disconcerting outlines of their
bottoms on my bed where they sat down (and who said they could sit
on my bed and why did so many of them do it? Were they so exhausted
by trooping through the 2,000 square feet we call home that they
had to rest up before going back downstairs?), were there to decide
if they wanted to live in our house. But I kind of pushed that idea
to a dusty corner of my brain and instead focused on keeping everything
neat and smelling sweet.
But it did happen. Someone decided this was just the place for them
and now we have to let them be here. Not only that, but we only
had two weeks from the time they offered and we accepted until the
closing date. I am very good at procrastination. NO! It is more
than that! I am very good at creating my own reality. In my reality
two weeks was all the time in the world.
But today is the day before we move everything. Today is the day
I should be walking through rooms that echo. Instead almost everything
is still where it has always been. I couldnít pack up the kitchen
because we still need to eat. I couldnít finish packing the books
because I lost the packing tape. Probably in a box. I couldnít pack
the . . . well, I think you get the idea. I have not been delaying
the inevitable so much as I have just been creating a disaster for
There is a work correlation which can be drawn. After a couple of
years of nursing I learned that it worked out better for me and
my patients to get all our "chores" such as bathing and dressing
changes and ambulating done as early in the shift as possible because
the closer it gets to the end of the shift the more likely the possibility
that all your careful organization and time management will crumble
to dust and everyone will suddenly have orders for STAT labs, their
IVs will infiltrate, they will have to go to CT and the computers
will go down. Why oh why did it not occur to me to carry this over
into my home life as well? Until today when it is too late and I
am faced with the monumental task of packing almost everything in
one day? I donít know the answer to that. But I know two things
Ė if we ever move again I will do it differently, and it is a lucky
thing that I donít know where I packed the matches.
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's
Theory of Everything"
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