No one knows what lies beneath the lifesaver

Have you ever started losing things to the degree that you started questioning whether you were also losing your mind, if that didn’t actually come first? I’m talking to my sisters out there!

Why am I addressing women and not men? Because I think gender differences have some bearing on this. Most people are familiar with the research that documents how many more words women say each day compared to men. If not, look it up. Women are many times more verbal.

While it would be extremely boring to watch video and listen to recordings of men and women to capture the exact word count data, it is nevertheless achievable and the results are staggering. My take? It shows women have more going on daily they need to attend to and talk about. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning.

As a woman, especially one who heads a single-parent household, there is a mind-boggling amount of information I must deal with on the homefront before I even get to my full-time job for the day.

To illustrate, let me deal with just one category of daily detail – food. I have to think about breakfast for other people, lunches for other people, my lunch, food to be dropped off for other people on my way to work, evening meals, food to prepare ahead for outside kids’ activities, social occasions and to support others who are going through loss and overwhelm.

Of course this food does not simply grow on trees, at least not in a pre-prepared fashion. It requires recipes, ingredients that must be acquired, and the time and money to acquire them. Once you do all that, preparation and clean-up time come into play. None of food details happen in a vacuum, but if you make preparation messes, you also need to vacuum. Plus, you create waste, which you have to deal with. Tired, yet?

Women have a lot going on, but we usually do it all so automatically that nobody notices or appreciates it because we somehow make it look easier than it really is. However, this level of activity going on non-stop across multiple mental categories is bound to take its toll! We cope by talking about how we feel about it, which explains our extra yacking for relief. Daily detail overload is a surefire recipe for internal crazy-making!

I feel as if I am always poised with one foot on the edge of crazy and the other on a banana peel (that came from a banana I had to hustle to acquire). Fortunately, I have a major weapon of mass destruction in my epic battle for sanity. I call it my purse.

Guys often mock women’s purses – how big, heavy and ever-present they are. But they are also lifesavers, and not just because you are likely to find Lifesavers inside. My purse houses Band-Aids, scissors and a sewing kit, spare USBs, spare keys, back-up hygiene supplies, health information, office supplies, gum, candy, snacks and water, spare change and electronic charging equipment. It’s a cheap substitution for the personal assistant I cannot afford. So you can imagine the mental blow I felt when things started disappearing from it.

“Where’s my chapstick?” I cried out, driving to my daughter’s evening softball game. “It was here this morning!” A comb vanished next, followed by a ring containing key fobs for store discounts. Then a roll of 100 stamps disappeared. Apparently it ran off with a small flashlight and a big handful of loose change. This was getting personal!

Life was already hard enough without someone stealing the small, crucial items that form my lifeline. Both my heart and my purse weighed heavy. Wait?! Why was my purse so heavy? Closer examination revealed something bulging at its bottom.

Reaching into a zipped side compartment, I found a small opening. A hole had worn through its lining, creating a fabric Bermuda triangle into which unsuspecting items were being sucked. Through careful maneuvering, I recovered from the under-the-lining bottom of my purse a missing padlock, dental floss, several pens, $8.83 in change and the other lost items.

In celebration, I used the change to buy myself a much-needed drink: a banana daiquiri.

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