I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached

ClearThere are so many topics I want to write about now, but most of them are so outrageous that trying to figure out how to reasonably discuss them will take too much time from my other writing, so I’m instead going to write about how forgetful I am.

This story requires a little context. I’m not a morning person. At all. I consider myself exceedingly lucky to have worked most of my life in jobs that don’t demand that I be at my desk precisely at 8:00:00 am ready to go. While I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, though, I still have to get to the office within a certain window each day.

My poor husband is not any more of a morning person than I am, but his work requires him to be there earlier than, frankly, I even want to be awake. And I have such a hard time getting up in the morning, that I have a three-level alarm system to get me moving. My husband is usually leaving for work about 15 minutes before the second alarm in my system goes off, so I’m usually still in bed at least half-asleep when he comes in to kiss me good-bye.

Monday morning I stayed in bed until the third alarm went off, so I had almost no time for anything to go wrong in my getting-ready-for-work routine. After I had eaten, packed my lunch, showered, gotten dressed, packed my backpack, I was getting all of my pocket stuff together: phone off charger and into one pocket, watch off charger and on my wrist, keys in another pocket, and wallet–

My wallet was not where it ought to have been. Now this is no cause for panic on its own, because I am one of the most absent-minded people on the planet, and despite decades of trying to teach myself to always put things in consistent places so I can find them, the reality is that I misplace either my keys, eyeglasses, phone, shoes, hat, et cetera nearly every day. So when my wallet wasn’t where it belonged, all that meant is that I needed to check the five other places where it sometimes gets left around the house. That only took a couple minutes, no big deal, usually.


My wallet wasn’t in the usual places. So I started looking underneath things, pulling out drawers and packs, poking into the pockets of coats in the closet, pulling pairs of pants out of the hamper and checking their pockets, and so on, and so on, and so on…

Throughout this process, I am getting increasingly angry and frantic. At first I was just muttering under my breath, “Where did I leave it?” Which soon became “Where the f– did I leave it!?” Soon I was no longer just muttering. How could I do this to my self again?

About forty-five minutes later I had turned over every corner of the house, when it finally occurred to me to check the car. As soon as I think of the car, I know exactly where it is. On Sunday, after we’d finished grocery shopping, we took the car to the automatic car wash. Because we had been planning to do that, as I was getting in the car in the grocery store parking lot, I pulled my wallet out of my pocket and set it on the inner console, because wrestling with my pocket to extract the wallet so I can put cash in the little machine at the car wash after I’m belted in is not fun.

I ran out to the car, my mind boiling over with the recollections of the times our car has been broken into, along with all the recent reports (both in the news and from neighbors) of overnight car prowls in our neighborhood.

I got to the car. Relieved to see no broken windows. There, sitting on the console, is not only my wallet, but a very visible wad of the bills the car wash payment machine had given me as change. I unlocked the car, retrieved the wallet and money, locked the car again, and rushed back inside.

I was running quite late by then. Fortunately, I had no morning meetings on Monday, and no one anxiously waiting for me to handle any emergencies when I got in.

Tuesday morning, I tried to get up and moving sooner. I had one meeting before noon, and I was feeling a little worried about something else going wrong.

My worries were not misplaced. I couldn’t find my keys. I tore the house up, again, checking all the usual places. The wallet has only four or five usually misplaced locations; the keys, unfortunately, have about thirty such places. Once I had checked those locations with no luck, I pulled everything out of my backpack and felt around in the bottom of its compartments before I gave up and called my husband to see if he remembered seeing my keys at an unusual spot. He had not.

We haven’t gotten any extra house keys made since the new doors were put in (I just keep forgetting), so I didn’t have any way to lock the deadbolt behind me. My husband told me to just lock the lower lock and get to work.

I hadn’t spent as much time looking, but I had to catch the next bus if I were going to make my meeting. I didn’t run the almost half-mile to the bus stop, but I walked really fast. Which wasn’t entirely easy, because my hasty re-packing of the backpack had left things cattywumpus in there, and I had an uncomfortable lump in the middle of the pack pressing into my back the whole way.

By the time I got to the bus stop, One Bus Away indicated I had about seven minutes until the bus arrived, so I sat on one of the benches and contemplated the pros and cons of trying to straighten out the contents of the backpack. I felt the lump in the center of the back of the pack… and it felt an awful lot like keys.

This backpack has a weird little elastic pocket on the back panel of the main compartment. It is odd shaped and in a spot that’s difficult to get into, so I never use it. Monday afternoon the weather had been very warm, so before leaving the office I had shoved my jacket and my keys on top of everything else in the main compartment before walking home. When I reached home, my husband was already there (as usual), and the door was unlocked, so I hadn’t needed my keys to get into the house. The keys had apparently worked their way into the pocket, not sliding down all the way into it until after I took the pack off when I got home.

I felt like such an idiot.

Wednesday morning, for whatever reason, I woke up, fully awake and ready to get out of bed, about a half hour before the second alarm went up. So I was puttering around the living room and kitchen when Michael needed to leave.

He came downstairs and asked, “Where are your keys?”

I walked over to the coffee table, pointed to my keys, wallet, and hat. “That’s the wrong question,” I explained. “If my luck keeps running badly, today it will be something else entirely. My glasses, or my phone, or—”

“So, where are they?”

As I was gathering my glasses and phone, he started listing other things. “Where’s your jacket? Your iPad? Your headphones? Lunchbag?”

I asked him why he puts up with me. He just laughed and kissed me good bye.

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