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Life without lists. Ultimate freedom!

By Mark GagnonPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Photo by Torbjørn Helgesen on Unsplash

Winston hated lists. The only thing he hated more than a list was how restricted he felt every time he had to work through one. At work, he attended the obligatory weekly meetings where one manager ran down the items on a list that must be completed without delay. A different manager would then take the floor to follow up on the list from the week before. Of course, as each item was mentioned, the obligatory “Check” was articulated.

Being home was no different from being at work. Every Friday, Winston was greeted at the back door with a kiss and a Honey-do list. He didn’t mind doing his share around the house, but did she really need to write everything down in list form? When he asked her why a written list was necessary, her response was always the same, “We wouldn’t want to forget anything, would we.” In his mind, the only “we” in the equation was her creating the list and him completing it. Something needed to change before he went mad. He needed to become list-less.

This weekend will be the one to change Winston’s life. His wife left Friday morning to visit family for the next three days so, he was on his own. He was free to do what he wanted, when he wanted, unrestricted by the accursed list. Freedom was waiting on the other side of his back door, and he was ready.

Winston swept open the door and strode triumphantly into the kitchen, where a multi-page list was attached to the refrigerator. Old habits die hard, and he actually began organizing what to do first when the voice in his head screamed, “Stop!” The list had almost gotten him. Winston balled up the paper and exuberantly tossed it into the trash. This was his weekend, and he would remain list-less. That night he ate delivery pizza, drank a few beers, and watched the sci-fi channel until bedtime. This is how life should be lived.

The next morning, he looked for the orange juice container and discovered there was none. He remembered orange juice was an item on page one of the discarded list. It didn’t matter because the diner down the street served breakfast. Eventually, he would need to go grocery shopping, but he’d do it on his own time. Before he left for the diner, Winston realized he was running low on clean clothes, so he popped in a load of wash on the way out.

At the diner, Winston ran into some old friends, and they made plans to play poker later in the day. He couldn’t remember the last time he had gotten together with these guys, but now that he was list-less, anything was possible. Winston needed to stop for groceries and finish the laundry, but it would be done on his time, not dictated by a list. He left the diner and returned to the car, where the oil change sticker caught his eye. The car was overdue for service. So, on the way to the grocery store, he would stop at Jiffy Lube for a quick oil change, then groceries, then laundry, then maybe a nap before the card game.

While Winston was waiting for his car, he checked his available cash. He didn’t use actual money much anymore because everyplace took plastic. Winston would need to visit an ATM. He knew there was one at the store, so he would stop by while he was shopping. He really was enjoying his newfound freedom.

As he pulled into his driveway, Winston noticed his lawn needed cutting. He unloaded the groceries, switched the laundry, cranked up the lawnmower, and went to work. An hour later, he stored the mower, folded the laundry, made a sandwich, and took a shower to prepare for the game. Life was working just fine without having to refer to a stupid list.

The game was fun, and he even won some money. As bedtime rolled around, Winston reflected on what a fun and productive day he had. Just before drifting off to sleep, he thought about all the possibilities a list-less new day would present. He would start with an early morning breakfast, clean the house, take out the trash, weed the garden, maybe some fishing….


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling the US and abroad. Now it's time to create what I hope are interesting fictional stories.

I have 2 books on Amazon, Mitigating Circumstances and Short Stories for Open Minds.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  4. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (4)

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  • Sonia Heidi Unruh10 months ago

    Welcome to my life.

  • Donna Fox (HKB)about a year ago

    I love the comedy in piece, as I do in all your work! Your sense of humour is simple beautiful to me! It left me smiling with the realization that although he was list-less, he still accomplished a to do list of his own. Which likely contained everything that was on his list from his wife.

  • Tina D'Angeloabout a year ago

    The story reinforces the fact that women are smarter than men because if we check things off our lists as we do them we don't make mistakes...unless we give our lists to the husband.

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    LOL what a clever title! So...did he remember the orange juice when he got groceries??

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