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On the flight home to Phoenix I killed some time composing a list* to add to my  collection. I find lists more useful and reliable than my recall.  They help me keep things organized. Truth is, I am rather found of making lists for the shear pleasure they bring me.
Some of my lists are prosaic: they remind me what to buy next time I go to the grocery store. When I can’t remember something, I consult the appropriate list of guidance. The latest trip to Stratford and Shaw Festivals were more organized thanks to lists of the restaurants we’ve visited and the plays we have seen.

Other lists are more like contests: can I list my ten favorite plays, or my top fifty reads?

Can I recall all the shirts I have made, and to whom I gave them?

Someone is sometimes bewildered by my mania for list making . He seldom needs them. He organizes things in his head and (more curious) remembers them.  I have no such skill.  Lists are my peripheral brain, my companion cingulate gyrus, without which I would be lost.  Lists serve as a warning. They seem to say “You already got one, so don’t buy another!”  This prevents the oh so common mistake of thinking I need this, that, or another, only to discover (when I return home) one or more of said item is already there.

I probably take list making to an extreme. Who cares really, knowing how many Opera CDs we own**, or which short stories I find most remarkable?***  Answer: Nobody, but I.

Some day I should make a list of all the lists I have.

*It is “Whiskies I sampled” :  Forty Creek, Canadian Club, Oban, Glenkinchie, Highland Park, Glenmorangie, and Jura.  Phew !

**34, of which 3 are different recordings of “Dialogues of the Carmelites”

*** Available upon request.

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August 2012

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