Monday, September 14, 2009

Organized Time

Last week I lost my watch. That is to say, I misplaced it, and I couldn't find it for several days. This was disturbing on several levels because I rarely misplace anything. Everyone in the house was on alert to keep his eyes open, just in case, but even with intentional searching, the watch could not be found. I remembered wearing it to class on Friday. In fact, my teacher had taken pictures of each lab group and posted them on the class website to help us learn each other's names, and I saw in the picture that I was, indeed, wearing my watch that day. Then, I had a vague memory of taking it off and setting it someplace. I have this memory because I remember thinking something like, "Now don't forget you're putting your watch here, because it isn't where you usually put it."

And yet, here I was, having forgotten, but remembering that I had told myself to remember. I couldn't quite link the memories together. I have about three places that I might set my watch. On my dresser, on the counter above the kitchen sink, or on the piano. A watch is like a pair of shoes to me. When I want them on, I really want them on, but as soon as I'm done doing what I need to do, I want them off. When I leave, I put my watch on. When I come home, I want an unencumbered wrist, and I take it off. But the places I am prone to set it, were bare.

I will interrupt my story here to tell you a story from my past.

I, as you know, am the oldest of nine children. I was the only one, for most of the time we were all at home together, to have my own room, tiny hideaway that it was. In the eyes of my younger siblings, my room was filled with treasures and things to be played with-explored-used-broken-messed up-stolen-borrowed-or otherwise manhandled.

I would lock my door.

The kids would shake it back and forth until they could pull the lock from the wooden doorframe.

They would mess up.

I would clean up.

And yell. A lot.

I felt so violated and so unprotected, even though I tried desperately to do my part to earn my way and support most of my own needs, teenage girl wise. (You know how the list of teenage girl needs can be.)

Being the oldest in such a large and necessarily chaotic family, I had an instinctual need (I guess) to try to control my own environment to the best of my ability. This is a nice way of saying that I was anally organized. I had everything labeled, everything filed, everything sorted, and everything planned and scheduled.

Well, once I lost $20. I knew I had earned the money and hadn't spent it. I knew I had placed it somewhere for safekeeping, and I remembered telling myself to remember where I was putting it. But even with that memory, I couldn't remember where exactly the keeping-safe place was. It seemed I searched for days with no luck.

One day it turned up unexpectedly, when I was going through my rolodex-type file, looking up something else. There, under H for HIDDEN, was my $20.

My mother got a good laugh. That, I distinctly remember.

And so, now I return to the search for the missing watch. I was bugged. I mean, I only own one watch, so it wasn't like I could just slap on another one. But more than that, I was bugged that I couldn't find something that I remembered telling myself not to forget. And so, just a few days ago, while deciding to wear a different necklace, I opened my jewelry box, and, you guessed it:

There was my watch.

What a kick in the pants. It was actually put away, where it was supposed to be, ideally, but where I never put it. I so never put it there, that it never occurred to me to even look there in all my searching. The link in my memory was complete. Silly girl.

I suppose the moral to this story has two variations, and you can choose the one that best fits you.

A) Always look where things should be, first, because they just might actually be there.


B) Don't put things where they go, because you know that's the last place you're going to look.

The end.


Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

That is dang good advice!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for making me laugh. I have so often told myself "Don't forget where you put this" only to promptly forget. In this house, "where's my coat?" is heard most often when coats are actually located where they belong, in the closet, which is of course the last place anyone looks. Which leads me to your second moral, "Don't put things where they go, because you know that's the last place you're going to look." Such is life!

Abby said...

I'm like you in that I never ever lose anything. I've got mental tabs on everything in and around this house. But, I do misplace things from time to time because I do what you do..try to stick a mental sticky note on the item when it's not in a place where I'd normally put it. I'm very rarely driven crazy by this..but when I am..MAN, I just cannot give up the search!

Orion, though, misplaces everything. Everything. "Cuddle, where did you put my...?" "What'd you do with the...?" "Why'd you take my... that I was saving, Cuddle?" and I'm just like "Dude! I did NOT touch your stuff..take responsibility for your own actions" haha..and even though I know he's joking, it kind of puts that stress knot in my belly as I try to remember not only where all of my stuff and the kids' stuff is..but also? Where was that paper Orion was holding for 5 seconds 3 weeks ago?

I feel your pain. I'm glad you found your watch..and I'm sorry for going through your things when you lived at home. I feel bad. But, for the record, you DID have a lot of really cool stuff..and I DID totally look up to you. But, at any rate..I'm sorry. I thought I put it back nicely enough for you to not find out. :)

Misty said...

good advice...
I go through "losing seasons". it's not pretty... I think my brain is missing an essential component.

Luisa Perkins said...

I so relate. When there were six of us kids in one bedroom (two bunk beds + trundles), I would climb up and curl up on the highest shelf in the closet and read with a flashlight. It was the only place I could be alone!

Rachel Sue said...

This is so funny because it reminds me of my daughter.

She came to me crying the other day because she couldn't find a skirt that she wanted to wear. I asked her if it was in her closet. She didn't know. She had looked everywhere but hanging in her closet.

And, of course, there it was.

Julie Wright said...

h for hidden . . . Light I love that. You are darling.

YogaNana said...

I laughed for six and one half minutes. :o)

If only Amanda had been visiting you! We always used to say, "Amanda knows where everything is." She did. Whenever I'd say that something was missing she'd get this look like she was running a tape in her head and then she'd say, "OH!" and scamper off to get whatever it was. I'm talking three, four years old. She noticed everything and she remembered. Very useful skill!

I haven't got it. I do the touching-something-after-putting-it-down-and-saying-I-will remember-I-put-this-here thing. Sometimes it works.

Luisa, were those bunks with trundles made of heavy pine, by any chance?

Shellie said...

Ha ha, the forgetting where you put things I do on a minute by minute basis. You now got a small taste of my world.

Anonymous said...

I always say, I put it in a safe place, If I could just remember where my "safe" place is.

The Damsel In DisDress said...

From one oldest-of-nine to another...right on!

Lost Sheep said...

I understand. A while back I put my camera charger in a place I remember telling myself..don't forget you put it here.
Well I have forgotten.

I have searched where it belongs. I have searched where it should be...where it could be...where it sometimes is...
but it is not in any of those places.

One day it will turn up and then I will remember why I put it there.
In the meantime, I have learned when I start to tell myself, remember where you put this....
well I am just going to stop and go take the time to put it where I would normally put it.

missing things is a bummer.