Tag Archive | forgetfulness

Confessions of an absent-minded misplacer, part 2

You have to respect the honesty…

I lose things all the time. I wind up spending an embarrassing amount of time searching for misplaced eyeglasses, or the mug of coffee I had just a minute ago, or the bookmark I was using and I just want to set the book down long enough to get some more coffee, or the headphones I was wearing five minutes ago. So I’ll be retracing my steps, trying to remember what I did and was thinking about. I used to constantly lose my keys and wallet, and only slightly less often my badgeholder with my bus pass. And of course my phone. I was logging into Find My Phone at least twice a week to make the phone ping so I could find it. Now I have tiles attached to the keyring, badgeholder, and wallet. I can use an app on my phone to ping them. If I misplace the phone, I usually have my watch on and can use it to ping the phone, but I have also used the feature of the tiles where you can squeeze it’s button to make the phone you usually use to track them play the Find My Phone tone.

Misplacing things while moving around the house doing things is one category of lost possessions, but it isn’t the only one. No, far worse are those times when one I have to say the phrase, “I remember thqt last time I was using it I said to myself, ‘I need to put this somewhere that I won’t forget…’” Because I only utter that phrase after I have looked in the places where I thought I had put it way and now I can’t find it.

Part of it is about how my brain categorizes things. Let’s say I’m looking for the spray bottle with the stain remover in it. I’m putting my shirt in the hamper, and notice that I’ve spilled food on it earlier in the day, so I want to spray the stain with the soapy stuff before tossing it in the hamper in hopes of preventing a stain. And I go to the hall closet where the laundry detergent is, expecting to find the bottle there, but it isn’t there. And it isn’t in the bedroom by the hamper where I probably used it last time. This means that at some point while I was doing something completely unrelated to laundry, I noticed the spray bottle out where it shouldn’t be, and instead of putting it in the hall closet, I put is somewhere else. It might be in the cabinet under the bathroom sink, for instance, because a lot of soap-like things are kept there. Or I might have put it in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, because a lot of cleaning supplies are there.

Why not back to the closet? Because I probably found the bottle where it didn’t belong while I was in the middle of another task. And I didn’t want to lose track of the other task, but I also wanted to put the bottle away, and my silly brain instead up popping up with the location of the closet where the laundry detergent is, suggested some other place where other cleaning things are.

Maybe.

Or maybe the task I was in the middle of was getting ready for work and get out the door, and the next thing I had meant to do was assemble my lunch, so I carried the bottle with me as I go to assemble my lunch. Assembling the lunch involves getting some things out of the pantry. When I got into the pantry I reached for soup=in-a-cup, which involves opening a box and selecting one of the cups and realized I was still holding the bottle of stain remover so I set it on the lower pantry shelf to free up my hand and get the soup, then walk back out into the kitchen to get on with lunch. And because that lower shelf has a lot of bottles of varying sizes and a variety of colors of labels, and the pantry is only dimly lit, it just blended in and neither of us noticed it for two weeks.

But yes, one other time I found it under the bathroom sink. Another time under the kitchen sink. Both of those were found the same day I noticed it missing. The time it was left in the pantry it took longer.

Then there is the topic of important papers. Maybe I have a folder of instructions from the doctor for a procedure scheduled a couple of months out. I read through it all once, but I’ll need to consult it again a few days before, because I had dietary restrictions the day before. So it needs to be put away somewhere where it is out of the way, but I will find it when I need to.

So I take it into the computer room and I put it in a standing sorter near my desk where a bunch of other important papers are. Or at least, that’s what I thought I did, but of course when I go looking again it isn’t there. So if I didn’t put it there, where else did I put it? The drawers under the stand-up thing where a lot of other papers are? Maybe. Or maybe the bin where the bills to pay are kept. That’s a pile of papers I go through frequently and I always know where it is, so maybe that’s where I put it. Or maybe it’s in the filebox where a bunch of other important papers are kept… or…

So I spend a couple hours searching everywhere I can think of, and it’s getting late and I just resign myself to having to call the doctor’s office the next morning before I go to work. I begin the going to bed routine and I grab my nighttime meds… and that’s when I notice a familiar-looking folder stuck behind all the prescription bottles and vitamin bottles and the blood pressure thing and so forth. There wedged in besides the receipts from the pharmacy that I save so that every few months I can scan them in and fill out the only form and get re-imbursed for the co-pays.

I put it with other papers that I save, all right. And they’re even medical papers! But somehow making that decision got mangled in my memory as the location in the computer room.

It made sense at the time, but darned if I’ll remember a week afterward…

A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup… boy!

"Now, where in the heck did I leave my glasses?" This is a frightening accurate representation of the author.

“Now, where in the heck did I leave my glasses?” This is a frightening accurate representation of the author.

Absent-mindedness manifests in many ways. For instance, my coffee cup. When I was younger, I would often lose track of my current cup. I would spend time looking for it, and then conclude that maybe I was simply mis-remembering having poured a cup at all. I’d grab a mug from the cabinet, fill it up, head back to whatever I was working on. About a third of the time I’d sit down with the cup and hear a clink as I tried to set the second on top of the first mug, which I was absolutely certain hadn’t been in that spot on the desk just five minutes before. But there is was, half full.

Other times I would work for a while, then get up to retrieve a book from another room, or run to the bathroom, or something similar, and I’d find the first mug, sitting in an odd location, half full and gone completely cold. Some days I’d wind up with three or more mugs scattered around the house.

I was only able to reduce the occurrence of that problem by adopting the practice of using only my favorite mug for coffee. If I couldn’t find the coffee near me where I expected it, I’d keep searching until I found that mug.

Of course, it isn’t always coffee. I currently have a second favorite mug, and I use it for tea. If I decide to make tea, I go find my Queen of Everything mug, pick out a tea bag from my rather frightening collection, turn of the electric kettle portion of my coffee maker, and then make a cup.

Sometimes I get in the mood for tea and forget that I still have a half a cup of coffee sitting around somewhere. I usually find it a bit later, and half the time I don’t even realize it until I pick up the mug, take a sip expecting tea, and I get room temperature coffee instead. Never mind that my favorite coffee mug is mug bigger, is a different shape, and a completely different color from the tea mug. When I’m in the middle of something, I don’t notice any of that.

But that isn’t the end of it. Some afternoons or evenings, I’ll have a craving for some soda. So I’ll grab a can of La Croix, or a bottle of Dry Soda, or some other low- or no-sugar sparkling drink, open it, and drink half of it before I realize that I already have a half-finished mug of tea or coffee… and sometimes half a mug of each.

And then there are the evenings I decide to make myself a cocktail, or have a glass of wine. Yes, some times I have had the embarrassing moment when I reach for my beverage, and realize that within reach of me there is a half-full cocktail glass, a half can of soda, a half bottle of iced tea, a half mug of coffee, and a half mug of tea. Not often, but some nights…

“The Java Jive” (Ink Spots, 1940):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Confessions of an absent-minded misplacer

"Oh no! I forgot something, but what?"

“Oh no! I forgot something, but what?”

Many years ago, after we had been living together for a few years, someone at a social function asked what the first thing we had ever argued about had been. We looked at each other for a few seconds, and one of us said, “I can’t think of anything,” while the other asked more-or-less simultaneously, “Have we ever had an argument?” And the person who asked the question didn’t believe us. One of the other people argued that we couldn’t possibly be a real couple if we’d never had an argument. Which is what prompted me to say, “Well, he does get aggravated at me when I lose my keys. Or my wallet. Or my glasses—” And he interrupted to say, “That’s not an argument! You’re never angry at me when you lose stuff. You’re always angry at yourself.”

And one of the others said, “There we go! See, now you’re disagreeing about whether that was an argument! I knew it wasn’t possible for people to live together and never disagree!”

Which caused both of us to explain that a disagreement isn’t an argument. An argument is a usually heated or angry exchange of opposing views with the intent to prove the other person wrong. We disagree about all sorts of things, but we discuss things amiably. And usually we wind up, as we explain our thoughts to each other: either talking ourselves into agreeing, or both realizing we already agree about the big topic and only have a niggle on a side issue, or both coming to the conclusion that either position is a valid one, and each of us have picked one side mostly for reasons of emotion or as a matter of preference.

One of the people at the table shook his head and said, “You guys have no frickin’ idea how a relationship is supposed to work!” And walked away. I think that since we just passed the 19th anniversary of our first date, still living together, and both seem to still be pretty happy about it, that maybe we have at least a notion.

I do get very, very upset when I lose things. And my poor husband has to put up with it while I’m rushing around the house, looking underneath things while I mutter and grumble ever more angrily. Then he tries to calmly work around me, methodically checking more carefully all of places where I might have set my keys down while I was fetching the travel mug I wanted to take with me… Read More…

I remember thinking about it

Lynx looking for something in the grass.

“I left it hear somewhere…” (photo from http://www.sparselysageandtimely.com)

I was reading something. Probably on my computer—although it could easily have been my phone or iPad. Whatever I was reading made me think that I really needed to update my Twitter profile. Specifically, I needed to change my name. And I had a really good reason why I needed to do it and why I wanted to make sure that I remembered to do it.

I have remembered all of that, most particularly the part about thinking, quite firmly to myself, that I need to remember this.

But I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it was I needed to change my Twitter name to, nor why I wanted to do it, nor why I thought it was so important to remember to change it.

Read More…

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