Saturday 12 October 2013

Shopping list: no groceries

This week over at The Queen Creative we are told:

A shopping list (noun) is a list of items needed to be purchased by a shopper, a grocery list is a the most popular type of shopping list– including items that need to be procured on the next visit to the grocery store. 

I am a list person, except for when it comes to grocery shopping. I hate supermarkets. I know what I need so I run in (if my husband isn't with me; he loves going down every single aisle) and zoom around spending as little time as possible dithering. I can't waste time choosing: tomatoes on the vine or cherry tomatoes or both? Chilli or cheese nachos? Shall I take advantage of the buy-one-pay-for-three offer on furniture polish? Hmmm. No, I make a decision and get on with my life. 

In other areas of my life, I do write a list. It lives in this fabulous little book:

This book does not travel with me. I do not want to be followed by my list. It simply hangs out around my desk, you know, near the pens. It is there for things like: 

  • Fix boot heels
  • Mother's Day something
  • Transfer for holiday
  • Write Prompts for Promptless - shopping list
  • Plan Celine's class
  • Email uni birds
  • Post baby pressie Arg
Life things. There's every day things mixed with work things, and what I call some 'life admin' thrown in. As a teacher, I don't need to make lists at work like I used to have to as an editor, working in an office. Offices seem to run on endless lists. Maybe this was one reason I vowed never to work in one again. So, I add classes that I need to plan, with the names of my students to make it more human. There are people behind my jobs and I like that.

Another area that gets added to this seeming free-for-all is stuff I need to write. Places I need to go and read, blogs I want to comment on, pieces and prompts I want to write. I don't think I would forget to write for my favourite prompts or challenges, but once I've put something up and I cross it off my list, it's like a double happiness. There is the writing happiness and the one-less-thing-on-the-list-happiness. 


One shopping list that I will take some time over, but not necessarily write down, is for presents. I love buying birthday/Christmas/any-occasion-that-needs-a-present presents. You'd think I was made of money reading that, but I'm not. I just love it when I've pondered on a present for someone and a genius idea whacks me over the head (then whacks me in the wallet) and they open it and their face lights up with surprise/joy/incredulousness at what I've given them. 

My parents' birthdays are really close together, so their presents will go on the same list in my head. The process will always start with the same conversation:

"So, Mum, what do you want for your birthday?" (I have zero intention of buying her what she wants. I am cleverer than that.)
"I don't need anything. You don't have to get me anything."
"I know you don't need anything, but what do you want?"
"What I want is for your father to get off the toilet so we can have breakfast. That's what I want."

My parents' birthday present shopping list might therefore look like this after a few of these conversations:
  • Timer so when my dad has been on the toilet for more than 20 minutes it scares him into getting off (for my mum)
  • An automatic thingy so that when my mum is transferring money to her children's accounts it blocks it at a certain number of zeros (for my dad)
  • A teaching job where all you have to do is teach and not deal with the bullshit (for my mum)
  • A mother who isn't so annoying deaf and insanely proud (for my dad)
  • A course in how to get the most of out your smart TV (for them both)


Life is full of lists if we think about it: things we want to accomplish, places we want to see, books we want to read, people we want to really connect with, things we want to learn. That's the beauty of lists. They can be never-ending. But life isn't. So it's a good thing if you never get to the end of your wish-list, or to-do list or to-read list. You had enough on there to keep you going, and while you were, that's called life. 

"We like lists because we don't want to die." Umberto Eco.

Click and watch more at Prompts for the Promptless here:


  1. A whole book of lists! How neat, I think I need one! :)

    1. I know, amazing right? You can find them on the website


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