Phew! Sure glad that’s over. It never fails – it happens every year, around the holidays, when I get so over-wired and over-tired that my insomnia kicks in big time, and my lack of sleep makes me even loopier than I already am. I can’t think straight and cannot get from Point A to Point B without making painstaking pit stops along the way at Points L-M-N-O-P. My lapse in memory doesn’t help, and I need to backtrack every time I enter a room and wonder why I went in there in the first place. Now, what was I looking for? Oh yeah, toilet paper. Guess I gotta go. It took me so long to figure it out that the urge left me.
But this one morning in particular, something is bugging me, something very important that my husband asked me to do as he left for work. I can’t call him and ask him because he’s always stressed on the job, and will remind me – ‘I only asked you to do that one thing, one lousy thing.’ Then he’ll go into the whole lecture about being a writer and living in my imaginary world. And it doesn’t help that the night before we got a call from the oil company, saying that we paid the bill twice. “Oh.” I turned red. He yelled at me. “HOW can you throw away money like that?” He’s always yelling…I call him Old Yeller. I answered, “You know how generous I am around holiday time.”
He walks in the door after a full day at work (even though he had a retirement party which didn’t stick) and I can see he’s on the cranky side. He immediately asks me, “So, did you get out those papers from the file I asked you to find?” My eyes bulge a little as I try to recall. Papers? Papers Pap-for some reason, I recall the papers aren’t exactly cheerful reading material, but what in the world ARE they? He did say the word file, so that helps narrow it down to approximately 300 Pendaflex folders that await me in the file cabinet. I do a quick search in my mind: A-auto insurance, B-banking, C-cute baby pictures—no, no – stay focused!
I succeed at temporarily changing the subject (which I’m pretty good at) and tell him dinner’s almost ready. Oh, crap! I’m having Kielbasa tonight, not one of his favorites. “What’s in this stuff?” he asks. I read the package. “Nothing, really,” I say. “It lists the ingredients: pork, beef, water, corn syrup, dextrose vinegar, 2 percent or less of salt, natural flavoring, paprika, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite.” He makes a face. “Well, you eat hot dogs, dontcha’?” “Yeah, I love hot dogs.” “At least it doesn’t say eyeballs.”
During and after dinner (which I drag out), I ply him with red wine, one glass after another and watch his eyes get heavy in front of the television. I sigh with relief as I wash the dinner dishes, and later suggest he go to sleep early because he looks so tired. He shuffles down the hall and collapses into bed. I’m exhausted too from no sleep the night before, but when I lie down next to him and the dog, I am wide awake, torturing myself over those stupid papers. I look at the dog with contempt. “You don’t have a thing on your mind, do you?”
Maybe if I get some sleep, I’ll remember what papers he’s talking about. I hate doing it, but once in a while I take a sleeping pill, and this was one of those nights. I feel the sedative kicking in 20 minutes later, and instead of going with it, I pop up with the recollection of the papers – The Last Will & Testament. Half crawling, I find myself at the file cabinet, and finger through the folders. Hmm…not under L, not under W, not under T. In my stupor, I wonder and worry about why he wanted the papers anyway. Is he trying to tell me something?
Oh my God, what am I to do? I know – Google. Even though I’m not at all technological, I’m not a bad Googler. In the middle of the night I try to RECREATE the documents, downloading a mock copy of a Last Will & Testament, filling in our names and forging a lawyer’s signature, while nodding out every other minute, my head bumping into the HARD drive to wake me again and again – in the same place on my forehead; now I know why they call it a Hard drive.
I copy it word for word, doing mine first…I, Janet Lee Berg, residing at etc., BEING OF SOUND MIND – Oh No! here’s where I stop and fall sound asleep.