The first week of this month is my favorite. Hope, possibility, and the permission to recycle a fistful of expired coupons.
I don’t use coupons. The circulars that come in the mail go straight into recycling. Envelopes of alleged deals do, too. Most of the things I buy don’t offer coupons. But every once in a while, I wind up with a few coupons or micro gift certificates for things I actually use, and will likely buy before they expire.
So I start a pile. Near where the mail goes and papers to be signed go. And I see the stack every day, winking at me with the possibility of a few dollars off.
But I can’t seem to remember them when I shop. And though that local restaurant is good when we go once or twice a year, our infrequent outings don’t ever seem to coincide with a month where I have the appropriate coupon.
I functionally ignored the coupon pile, even as life’s odometer rolled over to November.
Today I realized that ten coupons are now an impossibility. Their “you should use this” glare died October 31. “Hurry and use that coupon. Or that one. Or one of them. Take your pick, but go to a place and buy a thing and save several monies. Come on. You should do this. Or do something with your life for heaven’s sake!”
Sorry. Can’t. Coupon expired. Phew. One fewer thing to forget. I am no longer burdened with the “remember coupons” line item on my to-do list. Clearly I wasn’t paying enough attention to them. So why pay any attention at all?
I threw them away. And for good measure, I threw away the rest of the coupons, too. Expiring December 31? That’s cool. But you’re already wood pulp for something new. I don’t care. And I shall say that loud and proud.
Eff off, coupons.
As I tossed the now dead scraps of paper, I saw the four screws on the kitchen counter that have been waiting for weeks. Or months. I don’t remember. I’ve been trying to recall what they’re for, and I just don’t know. But I thought if I kept them out and visible, I’d remember eventually. Or need them for something.
And I should have just put them in the toolbox. But I wanted so much to find their role and allow them to fulfill their screwy destiny that I left them out in a vIsabel heap of junk-drawer-gone-obligatory
Today I tossed the screws. In the trash. Not in the toolbox, not out on the curb where the whole city seems to dispose of its unwanted but useful things.
I pitched them gleefully.
Good riddance, obligation. Goodbye reminder that my memory is crap. Goodbye unreasonable expectations.
And now I’m wandering through the house with a bag, drunk with power. Sock without a mate? Whether it’s been waiting a week or a year, it’s gone. I’m tired of waiting. Tired of telling myself I’m not doing enough. Tired of hoping all the messy ends of life will get neatly tied together.
Goodbye, book I know I won’t read. You’re going to the library.
Goodbye tea I don’t like. I’m not saving you for guests. Friends deserve better.
Goodbye, game I don’t like playing with the kids. I play other games, and I don’t care about you at all. You’re a pain and now you’re headed to Goodwill.
Goodbye wedding china. You’re “supposed” to go to eBay, but you’re going to the other half of my failed marriage. He can sell you or use you or give you away. I don’t need the should of your box shaming me from the closet.
Goodbye, tax receipts. I don’t…just kidding. I’m want to, but I’m not stupid. Freedom is symbolic, and currently only at the coupon, gift certificate, and third-rate novel level for now.
But that’s a pretty good place to be. Shedding what I don’t need. Streamlining. And knocking dumb things off my list.