The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Often a journey just to get out the door

It took me 10 minutes of back-and-forth to get out the door today. As my father so eloquently explains it, “Sometimes I can’t get out of my own way.”
I used to blame my children. Getting youngsters out the door is a true challenge and hilarious, if you don’t actually have to be anywhere on time. However, one rather inconvenient offshoot of the empty-nest syndrome is that I can only point the finger of blame at myself these days.
I’m not even talking about the lengthy get-ready drill every woman faces in the morning. I have to start a mental checklist as I approach the front door. “OK, am I warm enough right now? Will I still be warm enough once I walk out the door or, because my house is an igloo, will I perhaps be too warm?”
People back east think we just stroll out in our shirtsleeves year-round, but for some of us delicate flowers, it is far more complex than that. I have to stop and ask myself, “Have I have added enough layers to get me through a typical Southern California spring day?”
You start your morning with 40-something degree weather and possibly frost on your windshield. From there, the day may include offices that can be either overheated or frigidly air-conditioned, with occasional trips outside into either 80-degree sunshine — or possibly hail.
Next, I always try to go through the pile of stuff that accumulates by my front door. All of it needs to be taken somewhere, returned, dropped off or shared, but not necessarily today. The items I really need have probably fallen off the stack and are hidden behind the table.
Then I breeze out the door and yank on the car door handle, only to realize my purse is still upstairs and my carefully prepared travel mug of tea is still on the kitchen sink. So it’s back into the house, up the stairs, grab the purse, realize I left the iron on and turn off another light. On the way out, as I grab the tea mug, the scalding liquid down my front reminds me to double check that the lid is actually screwed on. So it’s back inside to blot off the tea and probably a lump of toothpaste I didn’t notice before.
This already complex morning madness takes on really complicated dimensions when I have to prep the house for my cleaning lady, or it’s trash day. But that’s another column entirely.
It probably won’t get me out the door any faster, but I do find myself longing for those days when we can just stroll outside in our shirtsleeves and sandals. Is it summer yet?