I’m incapable of running any errand without a list to guide me. Sometimes it’s a collection of stopping points scrawled on the palm of my hand, and other times it’s a grocery list on a piece of scratch paper.
I know, I know…my iPhone surely has a way to streamline this process, but old habits die hard.
Yesterday afternoon, I scribbled a note that was half grocery list, half recipe. I wanted to make beer cheese soup and needed a few items from Trader Joes.
I grabbed the first few things on the list and then stood there on the wine aisle squinting at my own handwriting.
Semach? What the hell is Semach?
I retraced my steps through the store, hoping something might jog my memory.
I stared at the list some more, thinking the scratched-out word or the surrounding items might provide a clue.
I whipped out my iPhone and tweeted about it, hoping one of my Twitter followers might have an idea.
“Samiches?” someone suggested.
“Eeeeew,” tweeted someone with either a filthier mind than I have or a genuine distaste for Semach.
Dejected, I finished the rest of my shopping and headed to the cash register.
“Did you find everything you needed?” asked the friendly cashier.
“Actually, no,” I said. “Do you have any idea what Semach might be?”
The volume of his voice and the fact that it sounded like he’d just shouted “semen!” at a paying customer caused several people to turn and stare.
I thrust my scratch paper at him. “It’s on my list and I can’t read my own writing. What do you think it says?”
He frowned at it. “That says Semach, all right.”
“Thanks.” I took the paper back and watched as he continued ringing up my purchases.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me.
“Spinach!” I yelled as he grabbed a bag of it from my cart.
He looked at my spinach. “Yes. This is spinach.”
“No, no! Spinach is Semach. See?”
He looked at the list and shook his head. “Whatever you say.”
Satisfied the mystery was solved, I bagged up my groceries and headed home to make a meal that, as it turned out, included neither spinach nor Semach.
Incidentally, this is why I’ve never followed that common author habit of keeping a notepad on my nightstand and writing down brilliant ideas as they come to me in the middle of the night. If I can’t read things I’ve written in broad daylight with a clear head, I suspect any notes taken in a dark room with a sleep-addled brain would drive me to the brink of insanity the following morning.
Are you as neurotic about lists and notes as I am? Do you ever have trouble reading your own writing? Have you ever jotted anything brilliant in the middle of the night and later ended up writing about it? Please share!
I have a Semach salad to make. What sort of dressing do you think that calls for?