But aside from recreation, I think lists can serve a valuable therapeutic function. I've always maintained that when faced with great anxiety or adversity, the thing to do is MAKE A LIST.
You want anxiety? How's this for you: On Saturday I will be attending my 30 year high school reunion. 30! There was a 20 year reunion, but I wasn't ready to come back. A considerable stoner (although a studious one) in high school, I survived my senior year only through obsessive visualization of my life the following year at college, where I went as much for an education as for a ticket out. I rode a long way on that ticket, from Santa Barbara to Boston, then Penn State, Washington DC, and finally back to California in Berkeley. A long, strange trip it's been. I'm ready now. It's taken me thirty years to accept that I didn't fit in then, don't fit in now and that that's just fine (queue up Stuart Smalley here).
But could this reunion be in a normal place, say somewhere in the mid West? Hell, no. We're going back to the ridiculously glamorous Newport Beach, a place where I feel consistently overweight and underdressed. Bring on that list!
1. Assemble an outfit. Whee! I did this without spending any money. Dress and shoes right out of the closet. I save money throughout the year by not accessorizing.
2. Lose fifteen pounds. I lost two. But I was greatly relieved when one of the organizers advised us by way of a Facebook post that fat and happy are the new rich and skinny. I'm good to go!
3. Learn to apply makeup like a grown up. I'm not talking about my standard tinted sunscreen and chapstick here. Probably too late on this one. I put on a little eye makeup the other day, just to see if I could, and Sophie tactfully observed "Mama, you look . . . sort of . . . tired. I like you just normal." Point well taken. But I don't know it's a given that because your kid thinks you look good, you really do look good. This is, after all, the kid who used to draw giant purple eyebrows on my dad as she "beautied him up" with her play makeup.
4. Figure out what to do with my hair. It's not the same smooth, blonde hair I sported in high school. It's post-cancer hair, which is a wild, wavy, often frizzy mess of a thing. And while I've conceded that my hair is neither blonde nor straight and I have neither the time nor the inclination to beat it into submission with endless treatments, products, and electrical devices, some attention to it is probably advised. But I still haven't figured out what that is.
5. Find a purse. I'm so lame about purses. Although I admire them, I really do not understand people who use a different purse every day. It's great in theory that the bag match the outfit or the shoes, but I'm just not convinced that anyone looks at my purse much on a daily basis. I ride to work, enter my office, put it on my corner chair, and it sits there until it's time to go home. Am I missing something? In the winter I use this giant black Coach bag that I bought nearly twenty years ago. It's so large I can fit in a change of gym clothes and lunch in addition to my regular equipment. Very practical. In the summer I have a cute straw bag (the only reason I own a cute bag is because a cute girlfriend gave it to me), but edges of it are a little worse for the wear because I've been cramming it in the clamshell of my motor scooter all summer while Sophie's backpack hangs on the purse hook (it's too big to fit in the clamshell). I have other purses somewhere in the back of my closet. I think.
6. Secure a date. DONE. Husband would rather die than attend my reunion, and I would rather die than take him. He is a handsome man who cleans up nicely, if reluctantly, but he just does not do well in southern California, whining that "It's all cement down here!!" and bemoaning things like the access of architectural detail on the faux Craftman style McMansions in my parents' neighborhood. Better to leave him home in his flannel shirt in the redwoods. Thankfully a friend I have reconnected with (we went to our senior year homecoming dance; see fig. 1) also has a husband who would rather die than attend. Stylish and just generally adorable, my date probably does not even own a flannel shirt. I have complete confidence that he will arrive to pick me up in the perfect outfit, with immaculately coiffed hair. His company alone is reason to go. If all else goes wrong, we can sit in a corner, talk about food, or bemoan the blahness of my blog as of late and the increasing fabulousness of his (seriously—go take a look).
Figure 1. The bloggers now known as authors of FigsLavenderCheese.blogspot.com
and SisBoomBlog.com attend homecoming dance a really long time ago.
A friend who has attended a reunion a while ago observed that everyone, regardless of success or pretense of it, has likely survived some loss that has given them an amount of perspective on life that renders them infinitely nicer and more interesting than they were in high school. One can only hope that the deaths, divorces, illnesses, drug addictions, and grand jury investigations have taught us something and left us wiser and gentler people. You think? I do. In thirty years we've grown up.