Notes From A Walkman Junkie: Making A List And Checking It Four To Eight Times
It is no secret that the holidays can be a bit rough and on the annoying side. This can be particularly true if one works in any sort of retail-oriented job as I do. This is the time of year when I always feel my breaking point steadfastly approaching. I have heard all the ‘dirty Santa’ songs (though this one is not bad) that I can possibly stand and cannot stomach even one more explanation from a customer about why some particular novelty item that we sell at our gallery is amusing. The other day a man picked up one of our ‘Well Hung’ car air fresheners with a phallic-shaped building pictured on it and proceeded to explain to me why it was amusing. Customer: ”See it is funny because you hang it in the car so it is ‘hung well’ and it also implies that the driver is gifted in the genital region. You see, it’s a double entendre (which he pronounced ‘double on-ton-dray’) it means TWO things, you know?” Me: “Ahh yes, at last… thanks for clearing that up.”
During these trying times, I find it is the little things that keep me going — like when the batteries to the yodeling pickle that we have on display begin to fade. When this happens the pickle’s crooning becomes quite slow and deep in tone; seemingly the pickle is drunk, which is far more seasonally appropriate. I am also a tad OCD and take an unreasonable amount of pleasure in seeing (or thinking about) even numbers, particularly the numbers two, four and eight. I become positively giddy (a very rare emotion for me, ask anyone) when someone’s purchase total adds up to be a magical number like twenty-two dollars and forty-four cents; grinning and beaming as I recite their total and wait for a similar reaction from them. Incidentally, my delight in the number is never even remotely matched by the customer.
My mere (ecstatic) enthusiasm for even numbers, however, is a drastic improvement compared to the stifling hold these even gems used to have on me. I am no longer insistent that all the numbers on the treadmill that I am using end in even numbers before I allow myself to step off of it; nor do I NEED to check that my alarm for the morning is properly set four to eight times, but no more than twelve… so yes, I have improved. Writing out to-do lists to check off is another one of my little OCD vices and this act only increases during the holiday season. The problem with all of my numerous lists though, is that they are not exactly well organized and often not very clear. OK, they are downright vague.
I usually will just jot down one or two key words on random bits of paper to be discovered later, assuming that I will know precisely what I meant by them. What actually happens is I find these lists in various places and will have no clue as to their meaning. I found a list the other day in my purse that simply read: 1. Monday 2. Mail 3. Veggies 4. Shove Edgar (Edgar is my bunny–I needed to round out my list with an even number). This list naturally left me thinking, “What the hell happens Monday? Am I mailing something? Is it veggies? What specific veggies am I mailing on Monday and how will they hold up?” My lists make it seem like I am constantly fucking with myself and just doling out little clues and hints of what I am supposed to do… come on, guess… it will be fun. It is emphatically not fun.
This year, for my own personal sanity level and well-being I shall keep my holiday list very short and extremely straightforward. It will simply read: 1. Drink a sturdy glass of milk punch 2. Shove Edgar. I am attaching Damage by Yo La Tengo as I was recently reminded of what a great song this is, and because it seems fitting — After all, what are the holidays, if not a bit damaging?