Thursday, August 04, 2011

Absent minded me

For someone who can focus so intensely on life-and-death things on a day-to-day basis, I swear somedays if my head was not attached to my body, I would lose track of it. My wife always calls me her "absent-minded professor." And it's true. It's the little things in life that will ultimately trip me up. I am eternally looking for my keys, my work badge, my shoes, my headphones. The only thing I manage to keep a pretty good eye on is my phone, but that's mostly because it doesn't really leave my side. I never thought I'd become the kind of person whose cell phone is an extension of their arm, but sadly, I have. I said the other day to Anna, while I was frantically looking for my car keys as I was getting ready to walk out the door to work, "Anna, guess what I'm looking for?" Her reply was "Your keys? That's not that hard of a question, Dad."

Yeah, I'm perfectly willing to admit that I am absent-minded. The older I get, the more I'm trying to just embrace who I am, flaws and all. And believe me, there are plenty of them. A perfect example of my absent-mindedness was last night's Search For The iPod.

After work, I got all the way down to my truck before I realized that I'd left my iPod in my work mailbox. Too tired and lazy to go back up then, I went home without it and figured I'd run back later and get it as I was going to be out and about. I went back to get it when I went to pick Anna up from a friend's house because I knew I was going to take her to her horse lesson and I didn't want to be without it. As it turned out, I slept pretty much the entire time I was there - 4 hours of sleep the night before and busy day at work had completely fried my brain. I got home, zonked out on the couch some more. We ate dinner and then I assumed my normal spot in the kitchen to do the dishes. I went to look for my iPod, which I thought was in the pants I wore to work. It wasn't there. It wasn't in any of the usual spots either (the island in the kitchen, the dining room table, my desk.) I became focused on the fact that it must have fallen out of my pocket while I slept at Anna's horse lesson and dropped down into the couch cushions. In my defense, my glasses had done just that - I had to pull the couch cushions up to find them before we left.

So I drove the almost 5 miles out to the horse barn and looked all through the couch. Not there. I tried to Zen myself out about it, saying that the more likely scenario was that I'd taken it out of my pocket, set it down absentmindedly in some strange spot (helped not one bit by my dubious consciousness) and now I just couldn't remember where I'd put it down. And that's exactly what I did. I found it on my dresser - approximately 5 feet from where I'd changed into shorts after work.

When things like this happen, I've adopted the strategy of using the line from The Wizard of Oz that the Tin Man says to the Scarecrow after he's been torn apart by Flying Monkeys in the Haunted Forest - "that's you all over!" I maintain that my absentmindedness stems from the fact that I am so focused in my job. The consequences of absentmindedness in my job are severe and when I leave it, my brain disengages just enough to keep it from being in a constantly fried. This means that I can't keep track of keys and badges and yes, sometimes iPods. I get mad at myself when I do that, but I've kind of come to the conclusion that pretty much all I can do is aspire to a state of "less absentmindedness." It is as much a part of me as my brown brownish-gray hair and my height. I can make noise about how I'm going to always put my badge where I can find it so I don't have to spend the last 5 minutes frantically trying to figure out where it is, but there's really only so much I can do.

I am who I am, I am my own special creation. Absentmindedness and all.


Keith said...

I knew before reading the entire post that there'd be a Babs reference somewhere :-D

Dan said...

You know it!