Why do I do stupid things? Once when I drove to a wedding, I found the church, arrived in good time, remembered my gift, but discovered an empty parking lot. Turns out I was one day late. On the first day of a recent school semester, I walked into the wrong classroom to greet incredulous students. I’ve put the wrong oil in my car… once without replacing the drain plug. A couple of years ago, I forgot to push the “park” button on my hybrid car when I pulled into my garage, and got out with it still turned on. It rolled forward and rammed the workbench. Once, flying a small plane back from Nebraska, I was heading for Sioux City when I wanted to head for Sioux Falls. Awkward… And did I mention I’ve never done a house electrical project without getting shocked?
After all this, I imagined that the Emma B. Howe YMCA in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, would be a safe refuge. Swimming with friends, relaxing in the whirlpool and sauna—what could possibly go wrong? Yet even there, I’m my own worst enemy.
For instance, I sometimes forget where I’m parked. So I hold my electronic key fob on the top of my head and push the red button. My car horn starts honking; then I walk until I see someone holding her ears and jabbing her index finger toward my car.
Once or twice, I’ve arrived at the Y without bringing my swimsuit, so I’ve had to skip the pool, strip down to my tee-shirt, and work out upstairs on the machines. I’ve resorted to hanging my swimsuit on the garage doorknob the night before so I won’t forget it.
Another day, I walked into the Y carrying my bag with swimsuit, towel, and shampoo. I locked my locker with a combination lock, but when I returned, I couldn’t remember the combination. One of my Y friends told me, “Just write the combination number on a piece of tape on the back of the lock.” Good idea, but I wonder if it defeats the purpose of the lock.
After forgetting my combination, I get smart and buy a pathetic, weak, little lock and key, hoping it might at least slow down a thief. I stow my street clothes in the locker and lock it. I’m walking over to the urinal carrying my towel and swimsuit, when I drop my key. I get down and crawl naked all over the floor staring at the grey tiles, but can’t find it. I search under the adjacent commode, but no key. Did it go down the floor drain, or…? Finally, I ask the stranger standing there watching me, “Hey bud; could you go call the Y guy to bring in his bolt-cutter and cut my lock off?”
I finally get used to keeping track of the key. But how to keep from accidently locking the key inside the locker? I think, I’ll just never reach into the locker with the key in my hand. That proves hard to remember, so I leave the key in the lock until I have securely closed the door. Or I sometimes put both up on top of the locker. This seems to work pretty well. When I shut the door and lock it, I stow the key in the little pocket in my swim trunks. I never lost a key that way.
But one day I have a different problem. When I get dressed, I always return the lock and key to my gym bag. However, this day I forget to zip up the zipper on the little side pocket. The key, lock, and shampoo fell out—I never saw them again.
See what I mean? If you look at me now, you might imagine that I’m a together person. But even the YMCA is a dangerous place for people like me. And I haven’t even begun to tell you about other stupid things I do. I’ve just put a Post-it note on my dresser—“First the pants; then the shoes.” Help! I need a life coach.