Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lists of Fury

I love lists.

Seriously, it brings joy to my life to make lists. When we are low on food I throw open all the cabinets and the fridge and studiously mark down what we need. I cruise recipe websites for new dishes to try and furtively copy down the ingredients I need to pick up. I am so anal about the food list I actually write it in order of how the supermarket is laid out for maximum efficiency, putting produce, meats, pastas, frozen goods, etc in separate groups.

And there is always a separate list for Things To Be Bought at CVS which is also written grouped into Bath and Body stuff, Household stuff, Meds, etc. Of course there should be another category “Random Crap I Know I Will Pick Up” but it is hard to figure that stuff out before the impulse strikes.

I thought that making these lists made me a little awesome, if we’re being honest. I was like “look how organized I am! How efficiently I shop!”. But you know, there is a solemn truth about list-keepers and their lists.

Without the list? I am SCREWED.

It’s like how you have all your friends’ cell phone numbers in your cell phone so you never have to actually remember their number. So it is with lists, when I write it on a list it leaves my brain and resides on that post it until I read it at the store and thing “Ah yes!”. So when I forget that list at home, as I have done TWICE this week, my mind is more or less completely blank. I stand in the middle of an aisle racking my brain – WHAT did I come here for? I had like a 20 item list how can I not recall even the most basic item on it.

In cases like that I think of stuff I normally need and pick up like a carton of milk, eggs, breadcrumbs, chicken and then come home to find of course I have these things in spades (which is probably why I thought they might be on the list) but have no dish soap, paper towels or olive oil.

So when I was at CVS on my break I reached for my relatively short shopping list that I had just written at work and realized it was still on my desk, I dejectedly resigned myself to a fruitless trip that would necessitate a later trip to get the things I inevitably forgot on this one.

Only somehow. Miraculously – the list popped into my mind. Shower gel. Body lotion. Air Wick Refill.

It was MAGIC! I knew what I needed without a list in front of me. How could this be?

(Yeah I know it’s a relatively short list but come on! Shower gel is like on the opposite side of the store from the Air Wick refills!)

Smug in my surprising cranial capacity, I gleefully drove back to work ready to tell my coworker, a fellow List Lover, of my feat.

As I walked into my office I hear “So where’s lunch?”.


I was supposed to pick lunch up too, wasn’t I?

And there, on a pink post it on my desk was my little CVS shopping list with PICK UP LUNCH written in capital letters at the bottom.

So I won’t be escaping the list life anytime soon. But hey, one thing at a time right? At least I got my shower gel!


Meg said...

I'm completely with you. It only makes sense to align your list layout with the layout of the store, but I can never remember a thing from the list either. So we usually end up with 800 rolls of paper towels and four unopened bottles of soy sauce but none of whatever I planned to make for dinner that night.

RED said...

I am a compulsive list maker - for EVERYTHING. I go so far as to list what my plans are after work each night, sometimes it's "run" othertimes it's a long list of errands, laundry, things to read, etc. Confession - I typically list what I'm going to wear to work each day- at beginning of the week! So, yeah, rock on with your list! We're right there with you!

Sarah said...

AH hahahaha I am so psyched. I too make "outfit lists" of like possible clothing combos so if I really can't decide what to wear I can look at my list.... Really that computerized outfit chooser Cher has in Clueless is my secret dream.

D said...

I too am a list girl! My husband is always making fun of me cause I make the grocery list in order of the way we walk the store. Too funny! I have all my lists in my palm and I love it! I can't live without it now! I also make lists of clothing combos as well and of clothing itmes I need or want. It's all down in my palm.

Sarah said...

i am glad i am not the only one!

Melissa said...

Too funny! I'm lost without a list too!

Stacey said...

I do like me a list. :)

I'm working with a new pharmacy and grocery store here in Portsmouth, so I can't do a "layout-based list" yet, but I'm sure I'll get there!

Amy said...

Too funny. Don't you hate it when you walk out of the room to go get something and you forget what you were headed for? My father has finally learned not to leave for the grocery store without the list from my mother! I guess after 39 years he finally learned...

Libby said...

I loved the computerized outfit chooser from Clueless! I would sell my soul for one.

I'm big on to-do lists. Not because I can't remember what needs doing, but rather because crossing those babies off the list gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Grocery lists, on the other hand, make me a bit nutty. I get little complexes about whether or not to buy something that isn't on the list but is on sale, for example. So, at least as far as foodstuffs go, I tend to wing it. I'm glad you got your gel- 3 outta 4 ain't bad. :)

Sarah said...

Amy that happens to me all the time! Especially at work - the office is large and spread out and I will walk all the way back to the supply room and then stand there for a few minutes thinking "Wait, what did I want?". Maybe I should start making lists for that, too!

The M Show said...

Geek Alert - I have a program called JShopper on my Palm Smartphone. Every time you add an item to your shoppping list it stays there and you check it when you need it. You can also tag the item by the stores that carry it so you can view by store. For supermarkets you can add the aisle number to sort that way. You can record the price by store so you know who has the cheapest milk, etc. Plus I always have my phone so I've always got the list.

Sarah said...


geek alert? more like awesome alert! it may even be better than the whole Clueless automatic outfit chooser thing.

Rebecca said...

I have to tell you - this is off topic cuz it's on the burger "below" -- you are my official foodie hero. :)

J said...

As a listmaker myself, I completely feel for you. :) Good luck on future grocery shopping trips.

Loving your blog!


Sarah said...

Thank you Rebecca! You are one of the only people who wasn't just straight up horrified :-P

And thank you too J!