List-O-Mania

There are two types of people in the world:  those that make lists and those that don’t.  If you were to make a list of these two types of people, Paul would be on the “makes a list” list and I would be on the “does not make a list” list. Most people who know us would  put themselves on the “No shit, Sherlock” list because it is a well-known fact that highly organized people make lists, while more creative types shun them.   On rare occasions a creative person may be a list maker but they are genetic mutants, Martha Stewart for example.  If you were to ask her about world hunger while she was chopping up a head of her favorite cabbage, her likely response would be “I just want to focus on making my salad”, which is why there should only be two types of people in the world.

List makers are always trying to convert non-list makers as if it were as easy as moving them from one column to the other.  But you are right handed or left handed, a smoker or a non-smoker, a mommy-blogger or not, a list-maker or non-list maker. My mother was one of the best non-list makers, so as they say in my hometown: “I git it from my Mama.”
Grocery lists, if they were ever created, were hastily scribbled en route to the store on the back of whatever piece of paper happened to be in the car, an envelope, a used napkin, a receipt.  “OK, what do we need?” my mother would ask us at a stoplight, pen in hand like an expectant waitress, looking up in the rear view mirror. 

“Coke! Cheesecake! Ice Cream!”  My brothers would answer as if these were actual Dameron family staples.
“Honey Combs cereal with a Bobby Sherman record on the back!”  I would offer as my brothers narrowed their eyes and punched me in the arm. 

“I’m not buying any of that crap!”  My mother would shoot back and then whisper “Damn” as she tried to write with an inkless pen.  Ironically enough, pens never seemed to make the list.
Invariably, we would end up a few items short of the necessities, but my mother was an expert at extending an item’s life span.  Palmolive dish soap became green tinted water, milk and water were interchangeable and napkins torn in half were both coffee filters and toilet paper, but never at the same time.  Once, my mother made pancakes with just two ingredients.  Proud of herself she put them on the table, stood back with her hands on her hips and said “There, now what do you think about that?”    

My brothers and I took a bite, grimaced and in unison said “These suck!”   If my mother kept a naughty list, we would certainly be on it.
It was somewhat of a revelation when I met Paul.  In his view, lists can solve any problem, probably even world hunger.  There is always some type of list in our house so we never run out of things.  When I shout “There are no more crackers!” from the kitchen Paul will walk to the pantry, pull out the backup box of crackers, hand them to me, swat me on the rear end and say “put them on the list” while looking over his shoulder.  In our list drawer, there are three neatly stacked pads of paper and four pens. 

I remained a non-list maker because when you are married to one, why bother?  But recently my friend Louise challenged me to make a list of things that made life worth living.  I suppose if you were to make only one list, this would be the one.
The list was easy enough to start:  my children, Paul, my family.  But as I started to add more items to the list it became more esoteric:  Sunday morning jazz, the ocean breeze on a Friday evening in Maine, the way a single streetlight illuminated Paul’s face on the first night we met and the wonder on his face as the sunlight danced above a purple fog on the Sonoma coast.  Some items are so bittersweet that they deserve their own list: the way my children’s mother cried when she gave them birth, and my hands underneath my father’s head as he took his last breath.   
There may actually be more than two types of people in the world or it may be more granular than I once believed, but between me and Paul we have it covered:  Those that love to make lists and those that make lists of love.

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