Archived Story

Can’t see the forest for the trees

Published 9:24pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

Just when I think I have crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s, life slams me in the face.
Mary Lyman graciously offered to lead a yoga class for the newsroom on Thursday morning. I rushed home to grab a quick lunch so I could make it back in time.
I had cooked some pork chops the night before, so the plan was to steam up some snow peas, eat and leave.
To save time (and because I sometimes obsess over details and order), I had everything lined up on the counter in order of when I needed it.
I had a plate to on which to steam my vegetables, my bowl of leftover pork chops then a fork and a knife all in a row. I got the salt and pepper grinder out of the cabinet and put them on the far side of the silverware.
I started with the snow peas, since they would take the longest. When they were piping hot, I let them cool as I warmed up the pork chops.
Though it was just leftovers and I was only eating for myself, I still took time to make the plate look appealing. I arranged the snow peas into a pleasing cluster and stacked the two boneless pork chops on each other like two overturned dominos. I drizzled a little of the sauce over the pork and then ground a little pepper onto the peas.
After a quick shake of salt, I stepped back from the counter and admired my work.
The next few moments got a little fuzzy. I grabbed the plate and my silverware and headed toward the living room.
For those who know me, my motions tend to be a little erratic – a combination of a natural nervousness and a severe coffee love/habit/addiction.
That’s when time stood still. I watched powerlessly as my lunch was suspended in air. I felt like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, except instead of watching bullets move through the air in slow motion, I watched as my pork chops shot across the room like two pork torpedoes.  Peas were going in every direction, spreading out like birdshot out of a shotgun. The steak knife glimmered in the kitchen light as it tumbled end over end to the ground.
I snapped out of my disoriented dream sequence as my back slammed onto the floor. My fork was still in my hand, but that was all that was left of my perfectly plated lunch.
As I lay there staring at the ceiling, pain started radiating from my forehead. That’s when I saw the spice cabinet door that I had just blindsided.
I laid there for a while, motionless, embarrassed and still sort of woozy. A part of me wanted to laugh, especially when I saw the two perfect lines of blood forming – one on my forehead, the other on the bridge of my nose.
I still don’t know how I failed to see a 2-foot-wide brown cabinet door in my way, but I know this – next time, I’ll skip the salt.
Nelson is managing editor for The Outlook.