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Suburban Island

Briefcase Secrets
Wednesday, Jul. 02, 2003, 12:09 a.m.

QUESTION: Will I ever find my taxi receipts?

WHAT I LEARNED: Smell the roses even if you don't see them yet.

Sometimes I am too busy for my own good. For instance yesterday I was busy:

  • Trying to figure out why my printer was pushing every sheet of paper in the bin out with each copy made instead of printing one sheet at a time and leaving it at that;
  • Being bamboozled by my daughter into several questionable purchases including a pair of shorts I would have vetoed if I had seen them on her prior to viewing them on her as she waltzed out the door today;
  • Forcing myself to catch up yet again with back expense reports for work and facing the inevitable mystery of the missing receipts;
  • Having dinner at a nice restaurant with my family during which my only real words to one kid were - cut it out right now - and other variations of the same concept;
  • Listening to my daughter and her friend explain to me about the injustices of the strict uniform dress code at their school that seemed to revolve around hapless individuals with untucked shirt-tails who suffered the unimaginable fate of a Saturday detention;
  • A conference call that was so boring that its only saving grace was that it was telephonic which allowed me to type away while listening by muting my speaker phone so keyboard tapping would not be detected;
  • Being jarred awake by a heavy-duty thunderstorm that seemed to be centered right over our housing development and gave me the distinct suspicion that someone had pushed my bed down the road to the local bowling alley while I was sleeping.

Sometimes I am just busy with being busy.

I miss a lot of good stuff when that happens. For instance, last night I was busy drying blankets that had been taken out of the dryer while still damp and did not even smell one jot like a dryer freshner sheet (shades of the great dryer wars) and had no sooner made my way out of the laundry room before I was called away from some other imperative task by my son who wanted me to check something out. Check something out? Right now? I'm too busy rushing around not even knowing what I am doing anymore to stop and check something out. His persistence won me over however as he insisted he had something interesting to show me about my computer case.

As he began to dismantle my briefcase on wheels I was getting antsy and impatient. I could feel my gears switching up to almost irritated. He's going to mess up my stuff - you know the stuff that's jammed into there that's already messed up anyway. Impatience is a terrible character flaw and I was indulging in it with growing gusto and arm-crossing as I watched him flip the computer case open. Something seemed interesting to me though in how interesting he found this case and I felt the annoyance and impatience run out of me as I watched him pull off the backing to the case and show me a whole secret compartment complete with little cases with zippers and velcro to hold them in place. Wow. It WAS cool.

I realized as we sat on the floor and really looked at this little hidden compartment in an old familiar briefcase, how much I was missing with my rushing around and my unwillness to just stop and smell the roses or in this case explore the briefcase I had owned for 3 years without ever realizing the great secret it held - complete with little cases for keeping important and special things.

What a great kid. What a lot I still have to learn.

DETAILS: Coffee: a whipped concoction + Listening to: loud conversations down the hall + Observing: kids sleeping late + Thinking: I love summer. + Weather: perfect summer day

Today’s Suburban Strategy: Like chickens - got a yard?

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