She strode into the room, then slammed on the brakes. She studied the walls, then the ceiling. Finally, her gaze fixed on me.
''What,'' she demanded, ''did I want?''
I hate when she asks that question. She never accepts my well-reasoned answers: ''To rub my feet.'' ''To hand me that magazine over there.'' "To feed me chocolate.''
''No, no, and definitely not.'' She spun on her heel, calling over her shoulder, ''Don't you find it frustrating that the older we get, the less we remember?''
I don't know what she means. My memory's improved with age. The older I get, the more I recall about a thing. Strikingly clear, too. I doubt that I took nearly the inventory of details when events unfolded as I am able to remember now.
Take, for example, the night I scored 87 points to lead our high school basketball team to the state championship. It took nearly 20 years before I remembered so distinctly Elvis cheering me on from the stands. He sat four rows up, six spots to the left of center court, three to the right of Clint Eastwood.
(It took 10 more years before I remembered Clint being there, and two more before I recalled with fondness how he asked me to autograph a souvenir program for him. I wonder if he still has it.)
The other night, I pulled out my high school yearbook. Odd. I wasn't in the team photo. I guess they forgot. Still, you would have thought the yearbook would have mentioned the state championship.
(Wait, now I remember. It was the NATIONAL title! I see the inscription on the trophy so precisely in my mind's eye that it's like I'm there.)
I do admit that my days as a rock star are a tad hazy, but that's only because of the pyrotechnics we used in Earth, Wind & Fire. The smoke blocked my view.
I played trombone. Those two weeks in December 1980 when Philip Bailey caught a cold, leaving me to fill in on his lead vocals, were absolutely amazing. I can tell you about every note from every song in every single show.
David Geffen himself begged me in our dressing room (it was painted the weirdest mustard yellow color, sort of a horseradish Dijon) before our concert in St. Louis to go solo. I declined. It was a kind offer, one that I'll always remember, but I couldn't leave the boys in a lurch.
I finally did give up the stage after inventing Doppler Radar. Reminiscing about that weekend when I was so bored, I see every wire, circuit, gadget and gizmo I bolted, soldered and duct-taped together like an odd Tinker Toy until suddenly, an accurate forecast appeared.
I realized at once that the adulation from such a thing would be too much for a quiet and humble person like myself, so I gave the whole thing to my college roommate, Tommy Doppler, when he came back to the dorm that Monday. He was thrilled.
I remember all of this so well. As I sat there in my chair, musing how the grin spread across Tommy's face, she burst back into the room, disrupting my reveries.
''I remember what it was,'' she said. ''I wanted to ask if you remembered to take out the trash.''
''Not yet,'' I said. ''But in 25 years, I'll recall every squish of every blade of grass and every crunch of gravel that sounded underfoot when I lugged the can out front.''
''Never mind, I'll do it,'' she said.
I'm going to have to remember that trick.
---- Remind Burt to wake up at the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook, or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.