Monday, September 14, 2009
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.