Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

I should probably be cautious about writing three columns in a row regarding various stages of personal dementia, but I’m too confused to censor myself.

The huge Augmentin pills I’ve been taking have pretty much kicked my respiratory ailments, and another round of steroids has me dancing like a flea on a hot plate and I seem to have lost even more of my mind in the process.

On Saturday I arrived at the farmers market at the unprecedented hour of 9 a.m., ready to tackle all three blocks this time wishing, as always, that all the food and produce items were in the same area instead of having to go all the way to the Ute City Banque for fava beans.

The sun was high when I reached the fava beans and filled my bag. My friend Hilary has planted fava beans all over my yard, but I can’t wait. Should have waited. Anyway, I turned to leave the fava bean stand and OMG, what had I done with my stuff?

I had, in the first blocks, bought Rainier cherries, a bag of tomatoes (not ready yet) and fresh, soft new garlic, but my shopping bag was gone. Where could I have left them? I started the long walk back when I suddenly remembered (“You stupid idiot!”) that I had taken the first round of supplies to my car, where I was now headed. Yeesh.

So that was a somewhat dubious relief, and I had gone half a block closer to the car when I realized I didn’t have my reading glasses. I’m about to get new bifocals, which will relieve the problem of juggling glasses, but for the nonce I carry the reading (or, in this case, produce-inspecting) glasses separately and, since it is summer, I never have any jacket pockets to put them in and am constantly setting them down or leaving them in the car when I go to work.

Back I went, retracing my steps, stopping at all the stands I had paused at, all the way down to City Hall, but no one had seen my glasses. The glasses were not in the car, either – I’d hoped they’d be in with the tomatoes – so I went home to unload, recuperate and contemplate.

At 3:30, exactly half an hour after the market had closed, I remembered where I’d left my reading glasses.

I’ve looked at this up, down and sideways, but there is no way to excuse or rationalize it.

My very first stop at the farmers market was Merle O’Brien’s booth, where she sells great purses made of recycled yoga mats and bright materials under the name O-heart-M or O Loves M,

Hilary and I both love these bags – Hilary has about a dozen of them, and I have a great-sized travel bag and, on Saturday, bought a very small one perfect for cruise ships and, no small irony, just the right size to hold my reading glasses. I had looked for her booth last week, but she’s only there every other week (check it out), and I was really happy to find her.

We had a long exchange about cannulas for her stepfather, who is on oxygen and having trouble

( is the email for the best cannulas ever made). Merle wrote that down, and I ambled off for the garlic.

Merle’s booth was certainly the most memorable of my stops at the market, but did I remember it when searching for my glasses? I did not. The new little purse I bought kept getting tangled up with my oxygen hose, that should have been a hint. I hadn’t forgotten it, I just flat out didn’t think of it, walked right past Merle’s booth to ask the garlic people if they had found my glasses.

The happy ending to this story is that I immediately emailed Merle, who immediately emailed back that yes, I had left my glasses in her booth and she had turned them over to Kathy Strickland, who handles the market’s lost and found.

I emailed Kathy, who called to say I could pick them up on Tuesday morning.

I’ll have the glasses back, but what about all these little bits and pieces of my mind that I keep leaving in random places in the land of lost words? I can drop a whole thought or a familiar name and come across it later, down the road, sitting under a mushroom, chuckling at me.


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