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Life on my own #30: Lists

Most people check off list items. I scritch them.

At the grocery store, when I’ve got a dozen things on my list – bananas, strawberries, carrots, celery, cereal, milk, chicken, hamburger, cottage cheese, colby jack, some ice cream and some tortillas – I can’t always keep straight what I’ve already picked up and what I have yet to get.

You wouldn’t think it so hard with merely a dozen grocery items, but they’re none of them written in order. I usually write them as I think of them, so the bananas and carrots will come first, followed by hamburger and colby jack with the celery up next… see? No semblance of sense whatsoever. But I try to walk through the grocery aisles as efficiently as possible… which means I don’t pick up groceries in the order they’re listed.

So I scritch them out.

It’s easier to scritch, you see, because it requires the manual dexterity of an ape. My dexterity diminishes greatly when I’m walking, pushing a shopping cart and trying to manage my purse, all at the same time, so making a neat little checkmark is just too challenging. Pity the poor soul who still feels beholden to the little pre-printed grocery lists with the convenient checkboxes on the left.

Who put checkboxes on the left, anyway? Wouldn’t it be easier for righties to check things off on the right? English is read left-to-right, you say? Pishposh, that makes no difference…

Scritch, scritch. Bananas now looks like
bananas scritched out
… especially the two-tone part. I somehow have the magical ability to never pick up the same color pen when I’m writing on the same piece of paper.

When I’m at work, I keep sane by keeping lists. I bought one of those page-a-day planners specifically so I could write all my lists in it and then scritch everything out. You know how busy you’ve been by how much is written on your day’s page. And you know you’re in for a stressful day when there’s only three things on the list… because you know you forgot something.

Scritch, scritch. Finished that article! Scritch, scritch. Got ahold of that interview subject. (I’m sorry, person I interviewed. I just called you a subject. Like a predicate, only not.)

I never made so many lists before I moved out on my own. Mom always told me if I forgot to do something. (Sarah! go put your cereal bowl in the dishwasher! I was really bad about that one.) Or if she wasn’t around, my sis would gently remind me about the laundry I had waiting in the washer or the tune-up I’d promised to give her bike.

And if I missed a grocery ingredient, well, Dad works about sixty feet from the grocery department. “Just call Dad! He’ll pick it up.” Never mind that you’ll have to tell him exactly what brand, flavor and size, because there is an entire WALL of peanut butter to choose from. Five shelves, count ‘em, and each one about twenty feet long. That’s an overwhelming variety if I ever saw one. Who needs so much peanut butter, anyway?

Here in my lovely apartment, I’m the only one. If I forget to buy the bananas, welp, I’m outta luck, because I’m the only one who was along on the grocery trip to remind myself about the bananas.

And since I can’t tie a piece of twine on my finger for each thing I have to remember – I’d run out of twine in about three weeks – I have to make lists. (Well, technically I could start on those wizardly memorization tricks – you know, the house with ten rooms and such – but I always get lost about the room filled with bananas. Which room was next, the kitchen or the dining room? And why is the dining room covered in yellow? I already got the bananas…)

That way, if I have ten things to get at the store, I come home with fourteen. (If I only had ten, I’d know I missed something… did you ever go to the grocery store without buying something you’d forgotten you needed?)

And when I’m at work, I don’t go insane figuring out what to do next. Mister List, please tell me the next little task that will guarantee my future success.

Then I get to take my victorious energy out on the list. Scritch, scritch, scritch.


Guitarlady said…
That's a good way to do a grocery list. I usually TRY to have a different color pen to scratch out the item I found.
Abby said…
Wait, you got ice cream at the store??

You should see Lisa's letters, I purposely change colors to indicate different days/times I was writing...

You are amusing. :-D

"gently"? You have different memories than I do...:-P :-)

I have never heard of this house memory helper thing...elucidate please.

Just FYI, the dining room is green. Or wood. :-D

I don't check things off either...:-)
Guitarlady said…
Hmmmm, I don't remember "gently" either. I can think of other adjectives that would fit........
Guitarlady said…
I thought the correct was scratch BTW. According to, "scritch" is an obsolete form of screech.
LittleChai said…
Shouldn't it be "scratch" out the items on your list? And why do you think most people check items off? At least in my family, we all scratch them off! I even found an iPhone application that you can make your lists and then you tap the item and it makes a satisfying scratch (even with the noise) right through the word! :-)
Sarah said…
Mom: I used scritch on purpose. It fits the idea better than scratch... carries an idea of cramped handwriting. :D

Abby: Yep, Aldi's has an amazing Moose Tracks.... peanut butter cups in it! The memory helper thing is something Pastor used to do in AWANA quite a bit.

Both: "gently" was tongue-in-cheek, if you didn't figure it out. :D

'Licia: Mom alternates between checking and scratching, I think, but mostly checking. Wow, I think it's hilarious that there's an iPhone app with scratch sounds!
MJ said…
Nice use of paint. :D
Sarah said…
Glad you enjoyed it. :D

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