I have house-guests arriving sometime tomorrow. They will stay three nights. What time tomorrow? Who knows? What will we do all weekend? Who knows? How does one prepare for unknown contingencies?
One goes to Costco.
Yesterday, I realized with perfect clarity that I needed two specific items at Costco. I grabbed the gigantic cart–our Costco has brand new gigantic carts which are really a wonder to behold–and flashed my membership card, passed those colorful knives I’m always tempted to buy (see also: Dull) and thought, “What did I come here for?”
I knew I had come for two items: Halloween candy and . . . uh, hmmm.
I stopped by the neatly stacked toddler-sized fleece jackets and pondered this mystery. What did I need? Candy and . . . *blink*.
I decided the second item would become obvious when I walked by it, so I began to push my gigantic cart. I filled my cart with all manner of items that I hadn’t known I needed: a broccoli salad kit, twenty-pounds of potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise. That one elusive item, however, remained just out of mental reach. What was it?
I couldn’t remember. I spent $160.00 anyway.
Today, I said, EUREKA! The item! It must have been tea bags because I like to buy them at Costco–three separate boxes, all packaged together, good old Lipton, essential for homemade sweet tea.
So, I went to Costco. Grabbed a gigantic cart. Flashed my card. Wandered through the store. Picked up napkins and paper towels and oh YES, I need coffee for my father-in-law, and oh, look, pumpkin cupcakes! I spent $61.00 and as I headed toward the door to have my receipt checked, I saw that I had no tea bags.
I unloaded my items in my van, moved it to a closer parking spot and went back into Costco to get the item! TEA BAGS! I found them, bought them (along with some popcorn). I congratulated myself on my triumph.
Yet, something wasn’t quite right. Tea bags were vital, sure, but were they The Item? They must have been. Right?
Tonight I needed to print out a form. I looked at my printer and saw it is out of paper and with a blinding flash of memory, I realized the elusive item was printer paper, one of those giant boxes with reams and reams of paper.
I don’t have a single piece of blank printer paper in my house.
I’m kind of afraid to go back to Costco, though. What will I decide I need if I enter that warehouse again? A five gallon jar of pickled herring? A porcelain snowman? A twelve pack of albacore tuna?
I miss my memory. I wish I could remember where I left it.