The Rockwood Files: To Whom I May Have Stood Up

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Dear Mystery Appointment Person,

Even though I have no idea who or what you are, I’m sorry. If I left you waiting or wondering why I didn’t do what I must have said I’d do, please know that I didn’t mean to not be in the right place or do that thing we probably talked about – whatever it was. Let me explain.

For three days now, I’ve been staring on and off at a note I’d scribbled down on my jumbo-sized “to do” list which sits next to my laptop. It says “THURSDAY – NOON.” That’s all it says. When I wrote it down, I’m sure I knew exactly what it meant. It must have made so much sense at the time that I foolishly thought there was no danger of me forgetting it. In hindsight, my brain was clearly giving itself way too much credit.

Because for the past three days, I’ve stared at that note wondering what I was supposed to have done by Thursday at noon or who I was supposed to have met that day. I’ve searched through emails and my smartphone calendar, trying to turn up clues to jog my memory. I’ve even searched the house for stray reminder Post-It notes. But I’ve got nothing – no inkling as to why Thursday at noon mattered.

And here’s the kicker: I circled those vague words not once but TWICE. And that makes this whole thing even more confounding. A double-circled note must mean something important, right? I mean, what kind of person circles something twice using ink and then doesn’t remember why it was worthy of a double circle?

I’ll tell you what kind of person does such a thing – a person with a leaky brain. The past few months have been extra busy, and my brain has filled up with facts, figures, and a longer-than-usual list of things that must be remembered and taken care of before a certain date that’s coming up soon.

And while scientists would probably argue that the human brain is like a highly sophisticated piece of complex, computerized machinery, I feel like mine is more like a big bucket. (Well, at least I’d like to think it’s big.) It can and does hold lots of information and, most of the time, it processes the info just fine. But sometimes, when life speeds up and new demands start to pour in, the level rises and sloshes right over the rim. I’m sure doctors have some fancy name for this situation, but I call it “brain leak.”

By the time Friday morning rolled around, I’d stopped frantically trying to remember what was supposed to happen by Thursday at noon. By then, it was too late. No angry phone calls came in that afternoon, no questioning text messages and no “what happened to you?” emails. I hope that’s a good sign. I feel terrible thinking about some mystery friend or acquaintance, sitting alone at a restaurant wondering when in the heck I’d show up for our lunch meeting. Was it a lunch meeting? Or a doctor’s appointment? Or a teeth cleaning? Or a haircut? I just don’t know.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and find out I didn’t let anyone down after all. Maybe somebody was supposed to come by my house on Thursday at noon and they never made it. Maybe I’m the one whose appointment was forgotten. I hope so. If you’re reading this and you were supposed to come by on Thursday, don’t worry about it. I’m not upset at all. I bet your brain just got extra full which caused something to leak out.

Happens to the best of us.


Your Bucket-Headed Friend — Gwen

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gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography