The Little Blue Sticky Tab On My Desk

I put a dark blue sticky tab on the edge of my desk – not a full-on Post It, the kind of transparent tab you use to bookmark a textbook. I put it there because I was measuring the length of my carryon bag to make sure it fits the very specific parameters of the airline. It did.

I must have got distracted after that because I never did remove it. The trip is in a week.

That little half-inch sticky tab greets me every morning I go to sit down at my desk and my first thoughts are of the measurement and the bag and the trip and the people at the other end of the trip. Even the origin of the tab plays a part: a gift in the mail from a friend to encourage me to keep writing.

(Such a better association than the area rug that’s too small under my reading chair, the chipped paint on the baseboard, the second-place trophy…)

Having something on the horizon makes the daily walk worth it; it turns a routine into a pilgrimage. But if you leave it on the horizon only, it can’t do its job. You have to be reminded to look up.

That’s where the little blue sticky comes in. It reminds me to look up, to see the future as it will unfold: deboarding the plane, the hug, the apartment, the conference, the boat drinks – wonderful things at the end of a long line of decisions dating back decades.

And when I return to the desk and the chair, so much fuller than when I left, I’ll peel off that little blue tab that served me so well. I’ll fold it over on itself and hold it in my palm like a dead fly, wishing it to ignore all the rules I’ve learned, to tickle my skin with its edges as it comes to life and takes off.

It sounds silly, I know, and it might not go down like that, but that’s the least I could do.

That’s the least I could do, after all it’s done for me.