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I Make A List

“I feel like you probably shouldn’t sleep with a coffee mug in your hand.”

“That’s what you think,” I respond to my roommate without opening my eyes, “but if I didn’t, I would have to drink it straight from the pot after it gets done being made in the morning.”

“‘To each his own,’ I guess. I’m headed off to work, I’ll see you later.”

I inwardly cringe at the word ‘work.’ I had forgotten until now about my current employment situation: unemployment.

I roll over and balance my coffee cup on my forehead. I still haven’t managed to open my eyes.

“Maybe I’ll just stay here all day.” I say out loud to the empty room. (This is something I do: dialogue my life. Somehow saying everything I’m thinking out loud makes me feel like what I’m thinking might actually be important.) I continue with my thoughts: “I don’t actually have to leave my bed today. Thanks to the little affair with the ice cream at Connie’s Cafeteria last night I don’t have to go to work. This is good. No work equals more sleep. See Kate, this unemployment thing isn’t so bad.”

I open my eyes. Or rather, I try to. I didn’t wash my face last night, so my eyes have been glued shut by mascara. It only costs me one minute and three eyelashes to peel my eyes open. I’m greeted with the sight of Chris’s closet hanging open. All of her cute little work outfits are staring at me. I hate my life.

With a sigh I begin the long process of rolling out of bed and staggering to my coffee pot. One argyle-socked foot hits the floor. Thirty seconds late a striped-socked foot follows.

“I feel like this is one of those days when I need to just wear my blankets around.” I tug my comforter behind me. I yank the last corner off of my full size bed that takes up my entire half of the apartment. A loud thump scares the fluff off my socks.

“Oh, it’s just you Harry.” I say to my copy of the third Harry Potter book. I love those books. Harry is my muse. Well, if I were creative he would be. Alas, my creativity didn’t seem to make it past Mrs. Graveman’s third grade art class. I made a phenomenal papier-mâché replica of a rock in that class though. Everyone thought it really was a rock. I wish I had some sort of cool talent. The only thing I can do really well is whistle.

I pick up my book and lovingly place it back on the shelf. I stayed up reading it last night because the whole getting fired thing made me too depressed to sleep. I head toward the kitchen (and by kitchen, I mean the small shelf that holds my food and dishes, and the mini-refrigerator sitting next to it) and stare aimlessly at the shelves.

“Life seems so meaningless when you don’t have a real reason to get out of bed...I guess I could go to class...”

I am currently enrolled in twelve credits worth of classes. The absolute minimum I can take and still count as a real college student. I’ve been working this system for the past few years while I attempt to figure out what I want to do with my life. I think credit-wise I might count as a junior now. I stopped trying to figure it up a while ago .

I was that kid who took a year off after high school to ‘find myself.’ At the end of the year I realized that I had found the joy of using credit cards to buy clothing, coffee, and Jane Austen memorabilia instead. At that point I decided to go ahead and do the college thing. When it came time to pick a major, I ripped one of the fingers off one of those sticky hand things and threw it at the list. I’m still not quite sure how to pronounce what I ended up with...it requires a lot of math though.

“Nope. No class. I can’t deal with calculus today.” The truth is, I can’t deal with calculus ever. My deepest dark secret is that this is my third time taking the class. I’m hoping that Mr. Bugliosi will get tired of me and go ahead and pass me this time. On the days when I do manage to show up, I always have two cups of coffee beforehand so that I’ll be nice and chipper. He doesn’t really appreciate my humor though. Although to be fair, I think I’m probably the only person who appreciates my humor.

“It’s a good day for Coco Roos. Chocolate has antioxidants or some other healthy thing, so it’ll be good for me.” I bask in a moment of pride over my health-conscious decision.

“Hello, my love.” I say to my coffee maker. Her only response is a slight gurgling noise as she percolates my life force. It’s good enough of a reply for me.

I sit down in the middle of the floor with my cereal and my coffee. I kind of have this thing about sitting at a table when I’m eating alone, even if it is just a card table with a stack of my old math textbooks balancing one of the legs. I gaze into Chris’s closet once again.

“She’s so perfect and mature. She holds down a job and takes grad. school classes. And she looks good while doing all of that. Why am I not like that? We’re the exact same age and she’s already a million light years ahead of me maturity-wise. And I even have the advantage of actually having a girl’s name. She has a boy’s name and she can do all that. Kate Puckett, you are going to grow up. Right now.”

I look around for a piece of paper to make a list of the things I’m going to change about myself. I find the receipt for the six cardigans I bought on clearance last week. I spend three minutes trying to think of a good title. I need something especially motivating. I finally decide on The Puckett List. The play on words makes me laugh, and laughter is good for some part of your body, right?

Then I start my list. Two bowls of Coco Roos, one bowl of Marshmellow Mateys, and five cups of coffee later, I tape my list to the bathroom mirror so that in order to look at myself I have to see this:

The Puckett List
  1. Find/acquire/keep a job.
  2. Cut back on my use of legal addictive stimulants, namely, caffeine and sugar.
  3. Go to class.
  4. Consider paying attention in said classes.
  5. Stop signing up for new credit cards (possibly consider cutting up those currently in my possession?)
  6. Only buy things I really need.
  7. Find my talent. I am not a boring un-creative person. I can’t possibly be. There has to be some cool thing I can do that I just haven’t discovered yet.
  8. Be a better person.
  9. Learn to like fruits and vegetables.
  10. Work out until I have a body that looks like Kate Middleton and Jillian Michaels accidently got mutated together.

I gaze lovingly at my list. Then I glance guiltily at the cup of coffee in my hands and the calculus textbook sitting under the leg of the table.

“I can start all this stuff tomorrow. Today I need a day of rest and relaxation to recover before I attempt to take care of all this stuff.”