Watch Where You’re Going!


My wife shouts from the living room, “What did you just do?”

“You know what I did,” I shout back.

“Did you knock the plant off the shelf?




“That’s the third time today.”

“Have you been counting?”


“Maybe if the plant wasn’t there?”

“Maybe if you watched where you are going?”

“Do I need to stay on high alert just to walk around?”

She never answered the question but obviously I do.

My wife likes to put things where they should not go. I am not sure why she does that. Maybe she likes watching me bump into them. In this case she placed a plastic broad-leaf plant on a shelf where two halls intersect. It is a place where I naturally swing wide.

She never hits it. I never miss it.

When you become familiar with a place, your mind maps where everything is and your body follows it. This biological navigation system is called kinesthesia; the sixth sense that guides your foot to the brake pedal without even thinking. It’s what frees your mind to focus on something other than banging into stuff. But not in my house.

My wife constantly scrambles my NAV system by buying new things for the house. We will be out driving and she will spot a little shop with a silly name.

“The Purple Pumpernickel!”


“I want to go in there.”

I’ll give her ‘the look’.

“I won’t buy anything,” she’ll promise.

“Yes, you will,” I’ll say.

“Oh look,” she’ll say, “a bench in the shade. Why don’t you read while I have a quick look around?”

She knows me too well. A third of a novel later, there she will be standing in front of me, smelling of scented candles and potpourri.

“Look what I found,” she’ll say, “Isn’t it perfect for the hallway?”

Oh joy, now I have another thing to steer around. Another frame to knock off the wall. Another addition to THE PILE when another shopping trip finds a more perfect thing.

It is not that I am resistant to change. It is just that I enjoy the comforts of not changing more. Some say, they are the same thing but they are not. If something promises greater comfort, I will embrace it enthusiastically – but it must prove itself first.

A fuddy-duddy is someone who clings to things even when they no longer work. A hipster is someone who tosses out what works in the wild pursuit of fashion. We are neither – but we have dangerous tendencies in both directions.

So later that night, I decide a change is in order.


“What did you just do?” I ask.

“You know what I did.”

I do.

“I tripped over YOUR SHOES!

Maybe I shouldn’t have left them in the middle of the hall – but then again, maybe…

Author: Almost Iowa

56 thoughts on “Watch Where You’re Going!”

  1. I think you recorded this in my house. Thank you for following my blog. Watch out there is a slight rise in the floorboard at the entry. Don’t let it stop you, though.

    1. Over time we become accustomed to the dips and rolls of an old house. I’d have no problem. 🙂

      When I saw the photos on your blog, I thought they looked familiar. We winter in Port Aransas.

  2. I really enjoyed your distinction between the fuddy-duddy and the hipster. I haven’t much of the hipster about me, but I have fuddy-duddy tendencies, although I tend to balance them out pretty well with a dose of curmudgeonliness. I don’t know if girls can be curmudgeons, but it’s close enough.

    That business about kinesthesia is interesting, too. I experience that in my work from time to time. When I begin working on a new boat, I’ll spend a week or two discovering tiny bruises and scrapes everywhere. I never know how I’ve picked them up, but it’s clearly a result of being in a new environment. Once I’ve been aboard long enough to develop a sense of where the rigging, the lines, and the winches are, they go away. I move around a boat I’ve worked on for years as easily as I do my living room — unless someone moves something.

    1. I don’t know if girls can be curmudgeons

      Title IX took care of that. 🙂 🙂

      I experience that in my work from time to time.

      I like the way you describe this, with the tiny bruises and scrapes. We all go through the same thing every time we buy a new car. It’s is that discomfort of first few weeks when the car “doesn’t quite feel right”.

      I think that is how we fall in love with our cars, our bicycles, our keyboards and our tools. By adjusting our touch to the object and the object wearing itself to our touch, we form a bond that is about as close to love as one can get.

  3. I loved this: “It is not that I am resistant to change. It is just that I enjoy the comforts of not changing more.” So applicable to so much more than the household…!

  4. I totally feel you, i guess every man just needs stuff in the house to remain in the same place for obvious reasons…it’s not a good thing bumping into stuff while making your way into the bathroom in the middle of the night with your eyes closed!! Awesome read!

  5. I have to say, I enjoy reading your “Marriage Wars.” Sounds like your rivalries keep you both sharp and awake in life. Fabulous!

  6. Lovely to be able to eavesdrop on your conversations with your spouse. Hopefully she has a sense of humor to match…or doesn’t read your blog. Very funny though.

  7. As a blind person, I do things like that all the time, especially when something is in the middle of the floor, or somewhere it shouldn’t be to my way of thinking. I never knew a sighted person could have some of the same experiences as a blind person. Sometimes, if there is no sound cues around me, such as the TV when I’m in the house, or the chimes outside, I will get totally disoriented until I bump into something. interesting post.

    1. Part of my problem is sight. I have monocular vision, thus limited depth perception. I rely more than most on kinesthesia to navigate around the house. I do drive a car, though I may soon lose that privilege. but when I drive I must take my vision into account.

      I would imagine that a sightless person would find a great deal of comfort in knowing where everything is.

      1. It is a great comfort to me, and it can be for you too. I suggest that you take the time to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and learn where your wife puts her what-nots, so you don’t keep knocking them off the shelf. I have to do the same thing, and it bugs me to no end when things are moved to a different location than where I previously found them before. You may also want to learn how to use your other senses to communicate with the world around you.
        I recommend that you read my previous post entitled A Day in the Life of a Writer who is Blind. In that post, I tell you how I interact with my environment, and those around me in my day-to-day life. Please let me know if any of the information I’ve presented helps you at all.

  8. My better half and sons are confused. Isn’t the hall where everyone leaves their shoes? When the pile gets too big, magic moves it.

    1. It is until it gets turned around again and again and again – then it becomes yet another running battle in “The War of the Roses.” 🙂

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