I have a lot on my mind. I think it is full. For every new thing I cram in, something spills out. It makes me look stupid.
I have to consider the possibility that I actually am stupid. But it sounds so much better to say I have a lot on my mind. I feel more important and put-upon.
I survive by devising routines. The less I have to think about the better, so I do things the same way every day. It works, pretty much. I go to the bank every Monday. I water plants every Saturday and Wednesday. I send this email out every Tuesday. Last week I got up, put on a dirty t-shirt and my running shoes, fed that cat, cleaned the litter box, and headed outside and down the street for a quick morning jog. Same as every day. Except I forgot one step: my shorts.
One advantage of a routine is that if something is out of whack it feels funny. And when you're jogging down the street in boxers, you feel funny.
My first thought, upon discovering my omission, reflects my inherent laziness: "Does it matter?" Running shorts are shorts. Boxers are shorts. Algebraically-speaking, they're pretty much the same, except for the little cowboy lariats. Then I looked up at the relentless stream of commuters coming at me on Farnam Street and I knew they weren't going to say to themselves, "Wow, there's a guy running down the street in his running shorts." I turned around and when home.
I had a nightmare like this when I was a kid. I'm told it's a common one too: the dream where you go up in front of the entire fourth grade class and your pants fall down. Or you discover they were never there at all. It's a horrible dream, and the only reason I can imagine for one's mind to play out something so embarrassing is so that you will never actually let it happen in real life—a theory that has worked for me pretty well up to now. To my credit, this is the first time I have gone outside without pants.
Not counting the times I meant to.