Saturday, 9 February 2008

Of addictions...

Its time my loyal readers knew something about me. Yes! I am finally at a place where I can confess to this. And, as we all know, the first step to beating an addiction is admitting that it exists. Well, I should have known it would get like this. I mean, people who have a genetic propensity for it, close family members known to have fallen into the trap, and women, who due to higher fat content in their bodies are more susceptible to the addiction, should really be cautious, right from the first time around. I KNOW this, and still I let myself get like this..

Fine, here, let me say it out loud.

"Hi Folks. I am Kenny. I am addicted to Making Lists."

There, I feel so much better already. I twiddle my thumbs over the keyboard, although, tantalisingly, there is a yellow post-it and a piece of crayon nearby. I resist the temptation. This is great!

Well, the story goes like this. I have been making lists all my life. There is a notebook filled with lists of stuff I have packed for various trips. There are some loose pieces of paper with back-up lists and lists for trips that were not too meticulously planned. All of them are dated, and the destination names (even if multiple) mentioned. I have a diary filled with the list of all the times the monster-child (a)fed (b)pooped and (c)slept during its first ten months of existence (at which point my husband made so much fun of me that I weaned myself off of the diary). The same diary has, on the left hand side pages, lists of things that went wrong (or right) & questions to ask the doctor/mom/grandmom etc. Prior to this, a binder of lists of questions for the OB/GYN during my pregnancy. Lists of people I sent New Year greetings to seven years ago (after which I stopped sending cards). Lists of people I had to give a blouse piece to during my brother-in-law's wedding in 2002 (in my mind a monumental task, assigned to me by my mother-in-law). My calendar on the computer is filled with lists of things to do, even more than meeting times. These lists are detailed and cut across official and domestic and personal stuff without any prejudice. I ALWAYS make a list before I go to the grocery store. Which means I have lists coming out of the pores of the house (and my torn handbag) thanks to these weekly visits. These are detailed lists. In two columns. Food items on the left. Cleaning liquids, detergents, soap etc. on the right. And now this whole paragraph is becoming a list of lists, so I will move on.

See, my great-grandfather (maternal-maternal) is to blame. My grandmother tells me he used to visit her and, on his way back, would gather the troops to assist in his packing. He would make a list. It looked like this:
1. Shirt
2. Dhoti
3. Towel
4. Underwear
My grandmom and her brood would laugh derisively. FOUR things to pack, and you need a LIST? Ha Ha. They would say. He would ignore them and quickly add
5. Bag
and pack the stuff (1-4) in his Jholna (5).

My grandmother, for all her derision of her father, and my mother, for all her derision of me and my lists, are both guilty of this list-addiction. Of course, they are much smarter than me so they make theirs in the head. Dash it! How on earth do you remember anything unless you write it down, I have often harassed them. They smile indulgently at me. Grandmother truly has it all clear and lucid in her head. She is very together that way. Mum, not so much. She does have lists, they are there in her head, but she dynamically changes them. So till the last minute she will be proposing changes to herself. She rejects some of these proposals (thank heavens!) and accepts some of them. But as a consequence of these mental calculations, its easy to fluster her during the list-execution stage.

In the initial years of our life together, my husband used to make immense fun of my list-making. Over the years though, he seems to derive comfort from them. When I aggressively tell him, YOU go buy groceries now. YOU go get the clothes from the laundry now. On the way back, post this, and withdraw cash, and stop by in the pharmacy to pick up the cough syrup. He will quickly say

"Don't tell me, make me a list"
Today, as I head out on my shopping trip, I will resist the temptation to make a list. I don't need a list. I know what I need. Dash it! If I impulse shop, so be it. If I forget to buy something important, say, socks, so be it. Whenever the temptation to make a list strikes me next, I will tell myself

1. I DON'T need a list
2. I KNOW what I need
3. I AM in touch with reality, and a mere trip to a store cannot make me lose that.
4. NO! I DON'T need lipstick, its not on the


choxbox said...

Gawd. How did you acquire the ability to look into my head? I had a list on the fridge when pregnant with sub-columns under 'walk after meals' for breaker, lunch and dinner. Okay wait for this one, 8 sub-columns under water for 8 glasses.
I have more to say but will wait to tell you in person.

kbpm said...

does that mean you are coming over soon?

& not eight columns for water (so you can tick them off, very clever), but I do make lots of lists. It could be because we are engineers? You think? My great-grand-dad was not one though.. nor is my mom.. or my grandmom.. oh hell there goes my theory..

choxbox said...

yup i think i can finally say we are coming over. school sorted too - yippee. any time you need gyaan on bangalore schools you know who to ping :)

btw columns/sub-columns bcoz it was a 2*2 matrix - list of things as columns and days of the week as rows.

i basically cannot ever function w/o lists. i think we should test your theory by sampling on a statistically more valid number of engineers and also non-engineers ;)

choxbox said...

eeks that was m*n matrix.. okay now i will not comment for your next 3 posts - sorry for having inundated this one.

while i am at it let me also inform you re the project management fo teh great event that our wedding was. i had several excel files that i sent to all parties involved - ILs, parents, sisters, relatives who were to turn up, wit a gant chart etc to explain the process - this bcoz no one from my side had a clue abt stuff on the other side and vice-versa. not that that got resolved but at least i could pretend everything was under control.

Laasya said...

Just one question, have you met my mother?

kbpm said...

hey laasya-
good question. answer: been a while (is she in India yet?). if I were to guess, she is just as proficient as her m-i-l in making mental lists. in addition, she will have (mental) footnotes against each item on the list, and detailed information of cause, effects, implications and what not.

i think compared to all these women, I am not so far gone.. Here goes, I am back on the wagon. Or have I just fallen off? :-) :-)

choxbox- Ha! Weddings! (expresses disdain and walks off..)

choxbox said...

Tagged. Do it if you can.

[Okay I broke my promise olreddy]

Laasya said...

She's not in India yet. And you're absolutely right about her list making abilities. The only yuck part is, I have to do the pen-finding and list-making.