Frazzle du jour

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

This aging gracefully thing is such a…&#%! mess.

STOP! [take a long breath Missy] STOP before spewing a string of expletives. After all, wasn’t it on the list last year–or the year before last–the resolution to curb the use of expletives (even those unspoken) because, if for nothing else, the prolific use of the F-word by your own daughter makes you bristle every time. Right? Right.

So what’s the frazzle du jour you might ask?

I seem to be getting ever more forgetful a year out from official medicare status. Having just passed another year around the sun I am asking myself: Am I All Right In The Head? Case in point was my frazzled morning just the other day. Having been in my new state for not quite five months I had received a jury duty summons. When I received it some weeks back I was incredulous. Seriously? I’ve barely unpacked all the boxes and still have more runs to the donation center to make and I’ve already made the jury duty list? Wow. That was lightning fast and honestly, I thought it odd given all the places I have lived.

Still, It’s my duty and fulfill it I must, though I’d rather spend my day with my senior dog snoring on my lap.

As soon as I received the summons I created a calendar entry with a reminder to check in the day before, as per the instructions. And like a good girl, I called the day before and sure enough, the recording stated I still had to report. The Instructions from both the recording and the summons stated, (in bold red ink I might add): You must bring this jury summons with you when you report.

So, the night before I prepared my backpack for a day on jury duty: notebook, reading material, a bottle of water and a couple of protein bars. I also put the jury summons in one of the books I had placed in the bag to insure I would not forget it. The next morning, I left for the courthouse which, conveniently, is literally eight minutes away from my house. I felt rather pleased with myself that I was ensuring plenty of time to find a place to park and navigate the unfamiliar halls of the courthouse.

I park. I get out of the car. I get my bag from the back seat. I go to retrieve the jury summons…

and….

it is not there.

Hmm, that’s strange.

I rummage around the bag. It is not there. I dump out the contents of the bag. It is not there. I flip through the pages of all the books, even shaking them vigorously. It is not there.

Breath by breath a panic takes hold. (Yes I know dear reader; in retrospect, it seems all too silly!)

I then remember that before my morning espresso (in other words, with one eye open) I had decided that the backpack needed pared down. I did not need three books; two should suffice I reasoned. So, I removed one book.

Aha. That had to have been the book in which I had placed the jury summons!

Given how close I am to home, I decide to run home to get it. I now have seven minutes to check in for jury duty. So I get back into the car to return home and as I am leaving the parking area I place a call to the courthouse, the number being included in my calendar entry. I get a recording but I say, with that edge of panic in my voice–as if, I’d imagine, one would make in a 911 call–“Hi…I am Mrs. so-and-so at [phone number] and I was getting ready to enter the courthouse but noted that I forgot my summons so I am returning home to retrieve it and therefore will be about ten minutes late but please know that I will absolutely report!”

I get to the house, leave the car running, and high-tail it inside. Ah. A sigh of relief! There, on the kitchen table, was the book I had taken out of the backpack. All is well with the world I think as I quickly flip through the pages only to discover, yes, you guessed it…

IT IS NOT THERE. What the hell? Where on earth could it be?

Expletives are flying right and left as I all but tore the house apart in an attempt to retrace my nighttime and early morning steps in search of the jury summons. All the while, The Poodle, is so damned excited, jumping on me and howling with happiness to see me because after all, I was gone (for all of seven minutes) and then I came back and he expected, rightfully so, that his exuberant love for me be met with equally excited acknowledgement and, yes, belly rubs.

“No time for that,” I yell as I run through the house….

Now I am nearly spinning out of my mind. I imagine the $100 fine for not showing up for jury duty in a timely manner AND without summons in hand as instructed. All I can do is return to the courthouse and beg for mercy. I get in the car and call my husband nearly sobbing to relay what was happening. “I’m already nearly twenty minutes late,” I cry. “…and, I left the house looking like a cyclone had hit. For the life of me I don’t know what happened to the summons.” The courthouse is in sight when I slam on the brakes as the traffic light turns red. My purse in the passenger seat goes flying onto the floor. I bend to pick it up off the car floor when my eyes spy something between the seat and center console.

Yep. You guessed it.

How in heaven had it gotten there…and how did I miss it as I searched the car??

I convey the news to hubby as I slap my forehead in exasperation. “I’m losing it,” I tell him. Of course he soothes by saying that I just have a lot on my mind.

The light turns green and off I go. Two minutes later I am masking up as I run into the courthouse. I am now dripping with sweat and I feel my makeup sliding off my face as well as my hair frizzing into the next county. I quite possibly look like some crazed lunatic. I am stopped at security for a body scan/wand-waving moment and truthfully, given my flustered state, I’m surprised the sheriff didn’t pull me aside for questioning. Twenty-three some minutes late for jury duty I arrive at the door to the check-in room whereupon a very nice lady with a thick middle and a thick southern accent stationed behind a panel of glass stops me before entering and asks that I please step back into the hallway.

I’m apologizing right and left as she checks for my name from her clipboard.

“Ah yes…here you are,” she says cheerily as she highlights my name in neon yellow.

“You’re number 41 to report,” she says looking at me. “Due to COVID restrictions, the room only accommodates 40 people… which means you can go,”

“Excuse me,” I reply with visible confusion. Did I hear that correctly?

“You can go home,” she reiterates.

Again I feel compelled to apologize for being late, explaining that I had forgotten the requisite summons. In addition, I was concerned that I would be fined as a no-show.

“Oh no, it’s all good sweetie,” she drawled with a bright smile. “You go on now and enjoy breakfast somewhere. You will be marked as having reported for jury duty.”

Awash with relief, I thanked her profusely and proceeded to walk slowly out of the building. As I get outside, I removed my mask and start laughing in honest disbelief. I’m still laughing when I call my husband to tell him what happened. “Who knew there was a comical silver lining or sorts to COVID restrictions I tell him as he laughs along with me. “What an idiot I was to get so discombobulated about the whole thing,” I tell him. “But, I’ve never been late to something of serious law-abiding importance.”

“Are you Okay now?” he asks. I tell him yes, though I feel somehow like I failed in my civic duty.

“Go treat yourself to some coffee at Starbucks and enjoy sitting out in the fresh air.” he says.

Instead, I return home to the comfort of my reading chair. I’ve got a book and a happy poodle in my lap.

The question; “Are You Okay” will have me wondering just that the very next day when I could not find my car keys. Oh for heavens sake, here we go again. Another senior moment. Somehow, I had left them in the car (which fortunately was secure in the garage).

Lord have mercy. Aging —this process of maturing gracefully into the sunset, is not necessarily a thing of bliss. But I suppose that a frazzle du jour is better than the alternative….not having one at all!

Okay…there is bliss in that.