Every Minute

We also have an inordinate amount of fireworks images. You'd think we set fire to things on a regular basis.

We also have an inordinate amount of fireworks images. You’d think we set fire to things on a regular basis.

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Full-time job accepted on Monday: 1 (yay! more on that later…)

Cadbury’s Mini-Egg bags bought today: 2

My mom has always had a morbid fascination with natural disasters and disease epidemics.

She is not mean, just scientific-minded.

My mom likes to mention on almost every birthday involving cake and candles how strange it is that we light things on fire and take pictures of people blowing the candles out. She is convinced that either a.) aliens or b.) people living 500 years in the future will think we are a very strange “civilization.” I use that term loosely.

My husband, on the other hand, refuses to watch anything on TV involving natural disasters or disease states. He is also scientific.

Potay-to, potah-to.

If volcanic ash from an improbable volcano all of a sudden covers my little area of the world, and scientists far in the future uncover my family’s bodies and our detritus, here is what they will find:

1.) In the garage: man bones. Inside the jeans pocket: a tiny piece of notebook paper with the numbers: 0245749283-50-4734829348-22-218928430239. When the numbers are compared against any other sequence of numbers that has ever existed in the world, there is no match found.

Also found on man’s person: screws of varying sizes, a Werther’s wrapper, Kleenex.

Man bent over large, loud, vibrating power tools that scientists say contributed to the volcano’s eruption.

2.) In the laundry room: woman bones. The scientists struggle to understand why a family of four would require so many unmatched pairs of socks.

Inside grown woman’s purse: 17 different grocery lists with similar items, indicating a diet rich in calcium: skim milk, 2% milk, orange juice, cheese, eggs, yogurt, Lysol, asparagus.

Also found: 3 lipsticks of exactly the same shade but different brands, hand sanitizer, a wallet with not much more than insurance cards insuring against everything except volcanoes.

Woman found near multiple cleaning products, yet house shows no signs of being clean.

3.) On couch: boy bones, body curled around laptop. Headphones still in. Seemingly had no inkling of the imminent disaster.

4.) In girl-child bedroom: girl bones, in mid-jump. Scientists at first conclude that girl’s mouth was open because she was yelling about volcano eruption, but decide she was only singing at the top of her lungs. They are impressed that dancing could occur in a room with items strewn all over the floor.

Scientists were able to retrieve the outdated hard drive from the family’s computer.

Using antiquated computer forensics, scientists discover photograph files. Many of them involve blowing out candles on a round, gooey object, while others focus on people holding shiny square objects while standing near an indoor tree.

The scientists find no photographs of the man making things with his power tools, the woman doing laundry, the boy using his laptop or the girl dancing in her room.

They conclude that most everyday activities involve blowing out candles and standing in front of indoor trees.

Using power tools and washing clothes must be very, very special indeed.

Note: The kids and I are reading “Wonder” right now… a great book. One of the characters in the book is the stage manager in Our Town, a play which had a big impact on me as a teen. 

“Does anyone ever realize life while they live it… every, every minute?”

Emily, from Our Town by Thornton Wilder


51 thoughts on “Every Minute

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Another wonderful post, Anne! Your comment “Woman found near multiple cleaning products, yet house shows no signs of being clean” made me laugh out loud. I often wonder what aliens would think of our human behavior. Glad I’m not the only one who does this. 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      It must be scientist-types, Carrie. ; ) My mom was on the path to being an M.D…. while she didn’t end up getting there, she’s got that kind of mind. So funny to think about our behavior if the person studying us has no background info…

    • Amy Mak says:

      Same – I laughed out loud! So funny. My husband is convinced that aliens took his glasses off the windowsill when he was a child and I always laugh at him and he looks at me very. very. seriously. Great post. And I can’t wait to hear about your job!!!!!

      • annewoodman says:

        Thanks, Amy. I am intrigued by the aliens and the glasses. I am ready to suspend disbelief about childhood experiences. ; ) Tell your husband I believe him.

  2. robincoyle says:

    Wait a darn minute. I want to hear more about this job you accepted!

  3. desertrose7 says:

    Congrats on the job!
    I always think about what aliens would think about us. We’re just plain weird!
    PS…It’s ok to not have the house clean when a volcano rolls in.

  4. Congrats on the job! Oh those cadbury eggs, sososo addictive!

  5. Jay Helms says:

    Clever and fun. You mean they wouldn’t find all the bones in the central room of the house, in a state similar to the description of the girl…with a white-ish colored short mini-staff in the right hand of each…?

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Congratulations on the new job! We’re all looking forward to hearing more!

    I think it’s a safe bet future archaeologists will be puzzled by many of the artifacts we’ve left behind. Plastic bags—what were we doing with all these plastic bags? 😉

    You write the most interesting and entertaining posts!

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, JM, on both counts. Ergh. I almost wrote about all the plastic bags… I feel guilty every time I use one, but still, I use them. I have my canvas grocery bags–check. I try to put the kids’ lunch stuff in reusable plastic containers that we keep and keep. But still… the sandwich bags! The big bags for homemade bread! The garbage bags! Yikes. I do try to decline bags when I shop. It’s tough. I still feel like I’m failing. ; )

  7. David Gentry says:

    Entertaining! I don’t know how you keep doing it!

  8. I love the anthropological perspective on us. We are definitely a strange species. I am trying to think of what power tool could vibrate enough to contribute to a volcanic eruption. I want one of those, too.
    Looking forward to hearing more about the new job. Congratulations!

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! My husband only chooses loud power tools. There is no quiet in our house on the weekends, even though he’s outside. In his defense, he is very happy puttering away with loud tools. ; )

      And thanks about the job!

  9. Congrats on the job Anne, fab!

    That is funny about the birthday candles, I’d never thought of that! We sometimes laugh at other cultures for their strange rituals and yet we do plenty of strange things too!

  10. This post immediately brought back my favorite book, High Fidelity (read in the 90s). I’ve never forgotten this line from it: “You see these pictures of people in Pompeii and you think, how wierd…one quick game of dice after your tea and that’s how people remember you the next few thousand years.”
    Great post, Anne and huge congrats re: the job!!

  11. Daryl says:

    And yet here he is reading the Seneca Scourge on his trip to FDA. The numbers are key to understanding linear kill kinetics of Bacillua atrophaeus. And it’s potato.

  12. Bernie Brown says:

    Congratulations on the job! I’m glad it’s something that makes you so happy. I’ll guess we’ll just have to be patient.

    Love the business about future archeaologists. I’m tryig to think of the strangest things that would be found at our house. I still have a basket full of brush rollers. They will probably look pretty weird when they are uncovered. I will think of several other things as soon as I stop writing. Fun blog. Thanks!

    • annewoodman says:

      Oh, there are weirder things than laundry at our house, for sure. A bunch of non-operational flashlights, for one. Also, our mailbox has been wonky for several years. I’m begging the hubs to spring for one. The scientists would have a good laugh about it. ; )

  13. Christi says:

    “Everyday activities involve blowing out candles and standing in front of indoor trees.” I love it! I often wonder what people will think of us hundreds of years in the future…

  14. happyzinny says:

    I am seriously thinking of giving up vacuuming now, if only to prevent an earthquake or volcano other such catastrophe. I’ll explain it to the family, I’m sure they’ll understand. (But when they dig us out someday, the house dust will probably equal the volcanic dust!)

  15. Joyce says:

    ^ LOVE. I thought for sure when you mentioned a woman found near lots of cleaning products, but no clean house in sight, you were talking about me. Ha!!
    You will be great in the new job. So excited for you!

  16. I love this idea!

    Future civilizations will find me either at the computer or reading a weightly nonficton tome on the couch.

    Dang. I gotta get out more.

    Now, let’s hear about this job of yours!

  17. Holly says:

    HA! Love this. We are a weird people indeed. Good quote at the end, too.

  18. Melissa says:

    When you look at your pictures from this point of view, they are definitely odd.

    My boys wrestling pictures will make us look very feudal. My spinning/knitting pictures will make us look very atiquated. The hubs pictures will make us look like we own a lot of cars. From this point of view we look like we were from a different time than the one we actually are…Oh! and strangly obsessed with felines. And don’t worry, my house has all kinds of cleaning products and laundry piles that never get attended to either 🙂 Congrats on the job. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Melissa. Cats and wrestling and knitting and cars… those are pretty funny summaries. WordPress has all of our blog images collected in this one little place, and the selection of images all together is pretty funny. I bet yours are basically yarn and cat fur, eh?

  19. thepoelog says:

    Congrats on the new job! And thanks for the Our Town quote. I loved that play when I was younger. I think it must have been compulsory back in the day because I don’t hear anyone mentioning it much nowadays.

  20. Subtlekate says:

    It makes me want to clean up now. Is my pathological need to be tidy based on my fear of being found? Oh dear. Congratulations on the new job. That’s exciting.

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Kate.

      Ha! Perhaps the cleaning thing is like that question moms used to ask, “Are you wearing clean underwear in case you’re in an accident?” I don’t think moms ask that anymore… but I remember it from when I was a kid.

  21. Loved what you did here! And that’s a great quote at the end. A group of my peers did Our Town when I was at drama school, but I was too busy sitting in the audience being envious because I was in another group doing a really crap play to remember much of it. Which I suppose is quite ironic. Mental note: observe more of the moment, rather than being so self involved in your inner dialogue of complaint. (Your daughter reminds me of me, not just when I was her age – I still haven’t grown out of putting on music in the bedroom and dancing around!)

    • annewoodman says:

      The kids and I still get up and jump around and sing at the top of our lungs together… it’s great exercise. ; )

      I think about 99.7% of us could do a better job of being present in the moment. It’s something I work on and try to appreciate. But of course, I have plenty of moments like yours… sitting in the audience, steaming, wishing I were the Stage Manager or Emily. ; )

  22. 4amWriter says:

    Congrats on the job. That’s very exciting, and I can’t wait to hear more about it. I have to admit, every day I stop and breathe because I have hit a wall or reached the top of that gigantic hill — and I am in the moment, then and only then. The rest of time, I have no clue what I’m doing.

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! I would love to say that things will slow down for you, and my guess is that they will… only when your kids move out and go away to college. ; ) And then you will miss the crazy, fevered, messy lifestyle. I suspect that this is our failing, as human beings. Here’s to more top-of-the-hill moments for you, Kate. ; )

  23. […] weeks ago, Anne Woodman wrote a post in which she mentioned how strange the ritual of lighting and blowing out candles on a cake would […]

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