Happy New Year to you, my amazing readers, who have joined me in this Sunday space for the past 13 years or so.
By now, you regulars out there know better than to expect some inspiring litany of resolutions from me. I won't bore you guys -- or myself -- with a rundown of things I will or won't do in 2014.
Let's talk instead about some of the things I can't do. Surely those will be more entertaining for you -- and more plentiful for me, the one who has to string together about 700 words on the topic that came to me last week during a frenzied Christmas shopping adventure. You'll see why the inspiration struck in the middle of a department store in the next paragraph.
Why can't I ...
• Drop soft, silent items on the hard floor of a department store? Seriously, I never drop throw pillows or paper towels in Kmart or Home Depot.
Nope, I'm the one in aisle 4 who reaches for one thing and ends up sending an avalanche of metal soap dishes, toothbrush holders and shower caddies to the tile floor. Nothing breaks -- usually -- but it sounds like a giant display of glassware and the entire shelving system that comprises aisle 4 have toppled to the ground in an earthquake.
"I swear, I never just drop paper towels," I said last week while fumbling my way through the rubble. Of course, I wasn't sure anyone heard me, since they all sort of averted their eyes and stepped quickly away, lest they be associated with the noisy nimrod throwing soap dishes around in aisle 4.
• Open a bag of Tostitos at 2 a.m. without waking the entire building? Not the household, mind you, but the entire building and the four apartments it contains.
But then, I'm not taking all the blame for the crinkle that could wake the dead. It's physically impossible to open a bag of chips quietly. I've even taken to slicing off the top half of the bag with sharp scissors to avoid the cacophony that comes when you grasp the top edges and pull apart its seams.
Seriously, in this day and age, with all the technological advancements and space-age materials like microfiber, fleece and Shamwows, why can't we make quiet chip bags? Come on, folks. We all know chips are a popular late-night snack, and we also know people seeking snacks at 2 a.m. aren't necessarily the most coordinated. Let's work on that.
• Judge the capacity of a Tupperware container before I start loading it with leftovers?
I really think there's something wrong with me and my spatial perception. I end up with either a half-empty container of green bean casserole, thereby saving no space in the fridge, which was the whole point of the exercise, or I'm left with an overflowing mess of gravy spilling out the sides and from under the lid, and another inch and a half remaining in the gravy boat.
• Remove the empty shampoo and conditioner bottles from the shower as soon as they're empty? Or at least right after I've swished some water around inside them a few times to get out the last remaining globs.
No, I leave the empties in there long after the new ones have been placed next to them on the narrow, slippery ledge that's clearly not wide enough for them all. And since the new bottle outweighs the empty one, they routinely slip down the side of the tub and get tangled up in my feet as soap and shampoo drip into my eyes.
• Unpack a post-vacation suitcase within three days of my return home?
It doesn't happen. Instead, I look like I'm vacationing in my own home and living out of the suitcase that's splayed open in the bedroom and spewing forth unkempt piles of half-folded clothes. And, of course, I can't remember which ones are clean and which are dirty, so I end up having to wash everything -- about 10 days later.
These are the questions I'm pondering as we approach 2014. Again, I'm not resolving to actually do anything about these shortcomings, but at least I'm aware of them.
Besides, I'm now at 712 words at 5:45 Saturday evening. Editors are waiting for this column, and my houseguests are waiting for the fish piccata dinner I promised when Stan got back from yesterday's charter. It's one of the few dishes I can prepare with a reasonable degree of success. So here goes nothing.
Happy New Year, Key West, and thanks for your continued support on these Sunday mornings.
Citizen staff writer Mandy Miles' Tan Lines column appears every Sunday. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.