Robin Jean Marie Conte Robin’s Nest
Robin Jean Marie Conte
Robin’s Nest

There’s a lot of talk about “The Zone” these days.

There’s a Zone exercise plan. There’s a Zone life plan. There’s a Zone diet. There is so much zoning going on that it’s a bit tricky to determine exactly what “The Zone” is.

As far as I can tell, The Zone is either a brand name or a state of mind—or both.

It’s a way of life and a way of eating. It’s a college student’s Nirvana—being able to read a text book passage and “get it” the first time. It’s that rare and coveted condition of operating at full mental or physical capacity. It’s being in a place that’s free of stress or distraction or Hall and Oates playing in the background.

What I really want to know is, where is this Zone, and why can’t I live there?

For most of my adult life, I have lived in lesser zones. When my kids were toddlers I lived in the No Zone. And for the past few decades, I’ve lived in the Uh-Oh Zone.

That’s the zone where one child will always come down with a stomach ache and a 102-degree fever on the day before the family vacation.

Where, if we are running late for school, the car battery will die or a bird will fly into the house.

Where thunder rumbles exactly 30 minutes after the start of a neighborhood swim meet and continues at a steady pattern of every 21 minutes thereafter for the next two hours.

Where, after I have arrived home from running errands at seven different stores, there will still be a child who tells me that he needs notebook paper and cupcakes for school the next morning.

I’m ready for a new zone.

I want to live in a Zone Of My Own. I want to live in a place where I can get toned while texting, where the route I choose to Costco always has the best flow of traffic, where decisions are made without angst.

I want to live in the zone where I please all of the people, all of the time.

In this place, my hair always looks good and my indoor plants live a long and full life. Dust doesn’t settle quite so quickly and the stones on my front porch gather no moss. My flowerbeds are surrounded by an invisible shield that protects them from squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, coyotes and basketballs.

And my Internet never shuts down.

In this zone, we can always find the remote.

I want to live in the zone where I can make a complete dinner without setting off the smoke alarm.

Where cream cheese and yogurt last for three months past their expiration date, and “customer service” thrives wherever I shop.

Where every purchase I make has been fairly traded and is ecologically sound—and costs less than $10.

Where I am always the first one in the carpool line, no matter when I leave the house. Where scintillating conversation and witty repartee flow freely from my mouth and I can instantly summon the perfect sparkling comeback.

And my Internet never shuts down.

I don’t want to live in the zone that’s narrated by Rod Serling—I feel like I’ve wandered into that zone often enough. I want to dwell in the place where my coupons are always good and 15-minute power naps really work.

And I am always appreciated.

If you know where this place is, please tell me.

Because my Internet just shut down, and I am zoning out.

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her new column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see