I patted myself on the back for finishing the errands of the day well ahead of expectations. As I browsed the kitchen for snacks, a bag of popcorn dropped from the shelf. I looked at it and said “Why not”? and proceeded to microwave the bag.

As the warm smell of the popcorn wafted into the room, I looked forward to kicking back and relaxing on my bed upstairs while watching TV.

I poured half the popcorn into a small container. Finishing one’s popcorn in one go is not comforting at all. When you want to munch a few more,  but find your fingers hitting an empty bowl, it is  “disappointment city”. So leaving half of it downstairs I thought was a good strategy and commended myself for that.

When I organize around the house, I leave things that need to go to other rooms in strategic transitory locations. When I walk past those locations, I spot the items and take them to their ultimate place. It has become habitual. 

With a bowl of popcorn in my left hand, I sauntered upstairs. On the first step, I saw a pack of toilet paper. It had to go to the upstairs bathroom. I picked that up on my right hand. On the second step, there was a carton of toothpaste. That went on top of the toilet paper pack. Off I climbed the steps, feeling proud of my life optimization.

I entered the bedroom and put the things on my right hand on the floor. I laid the popcorn bowl gently on the side table. Or I thought I was. The next moment, popcorn was scattered all over the carpet.

“Darn. I exclaimed,” with disappointment on my face. Immediately, I thought of the 20 second rule and started picking up the popcorn and dropping it straight into my mouth.

“Yeewww”, I recoiled after finding my mouth stuffed with popcorn. “How uncivilized have I become?, I thought”. 

I stopped and took a deep breath. My addiction to popcorn had gotten the better of me. I had to clean up the mess and the remaining popcorn was still downstairs. I went in search of the vacuum. A few minutes later, I realized that I had left the vacuum two floors below earlier that day. With the smell of popcorn and carpet still in my mouth and disappointment of much of the popcorn still on the floor, I trudged two flights of stairs down and up. 

After a few back and forths, the vacuum didn’t sound so good. Nothing was getting sucked in. Sigh. I was looking forward to finishing the clean up quickly, retrieving the remainder of the popcorn and relaxing for sometime. Alas, not to be. 

I removed the dust compartment and emptied its contents into the dust bin. The popcorn was a mush of white and yellow. “What a waste”, I thought as I put the compartment back in. I cranked up the vac again but it didn’t sound well at all. No suction. Nothing, Nada.

It was time to peer into the tubes. As I looked into the hose, I could spot a popcorn inside peering back at me. “I belong in your stomach, not in this hairball” he seemed to mockingly say. The popcorn was wrapped up in a cocoon of gray hair. And as luck would have it, it was out of reach of my finger length.

“What have I gotten myself into”?, I wondered as I went searching for a long wire to poke into the hose. It seemed that the universe didn’t want me to have that popcorn. The wire was nowhere to be found.

Ten minutes later, I took out the kitchen sink hose and poured water into the vacuum hose. Water went into the top, defied gravity and refused to come out on the other side. “Okay, there is a hairy monster of popcorn embedded in there for sure”, I surmised. It was time to push some energy into this. “If I had any chance of eating the remaining popcorn, I had to do some tough things”, I declared as I pushed a whole lung of air into the hose.

Out came an amorphous wet ball. Voila, Victory, Veni, Vidi, Vici. Another two minutes and ten washes later, the hose was squeaky clean. 

I grabbed the remaining bowl of popcorn from the counter and bounded upstairs. I gently laid the bowl of popcorn on the bed and turned on the TV. Feeling exhausted, my stomach hit the bed in one quick motion. As I looked up, the popcorn bowl made a perfect arc as it dropped all its contents on the bed. 

“Why do you look so exhausted?”, asked my wife as she came in.

“You don’t want to know”, I said meekly.