Throwing Orange Flags

Yesterday was the Day of Misplacing Everything.

Duck!2I would go in the sorter room to find a book on a shelving cart and go out on the public floor with the item in hand, and somewhere between the door and the patron, the item disappeared.  I backtracked and found the things—except for the time the patron reached out and took it from her table as I stared at my empty hand—but I’m sure I never put them down.

My travel mug was never where I thought it should be, even when I finished its caffeinated contents.  Twice.

PencilsI never had a pencil when I consciously needed one, even though there were penciled hash-marks on my stats sheet, which implies the existence of at least one.  This mystery was solved, sort of, when our page appeared at the desk near the end of the day with a handful of pencils.  “These are scattered all over the place,” she said.  “Did a little kid grab some or something?”  “No clue,” I said, nonchalantly shoving one behind my ear.  Two minutes later, a coworker handed it to me.  “You dropped this.”  I could see how she came to that conclusion, but I knew the truth—it had dropped itself.

My phone also drifted around in this manner all evening. If I was in the bedroom, it was in the living room.  If I was in the living room, it magically relocated to the kitchen.  If I was in the kitchen, it promptly moved itself behind the breadmaker.

And then there’s the stack of Sunny’s clean underwear, which evaporated somewhere between the clean laundry hamper and her dresser.*  You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.Dear Me

My copy of Peter Ustinov’s autobiography kept relocating to the bathroom, but that was convenient, so I told it to carry on.

But it was obvious to me that something was going on.  Either small, localized portals are opening up and things are falling through them; inanimate objects have decided to mess with me more than usual; or my short-term memory is finally coming unmoored.

I’m pretty sure it’s at least two out of three, and since I’m more of a self-aware magical realist than a scientist, we’re going to go with anthropomorphics and that last thing I said, whatever it was.

Since the need to lecture, apologize, and apparently amuse lifeless items is deeply ingrained in my core belief system and ginkgo biloba sound like something that clogs up the filters in your aquarium—for all I know, that’s where it comes from—I need some other method of pinning down the things I need and remembering where—and what—they are if they momentarily leave my direct line of sight**

I know there are little lo-jacking systems for your stuff, along the lines of the keyfob that lets you know where your silver Honda is in a large parking lot full of Silver Hondas by making it beep loudly, thus scaring hell out of the elderly lady innocently walking by, which also helps identify the spot.***

But a system like that depends on being able to put one’s hands on their fob (Oh, hush.) whenever they feel the need (Hush, I said.), and if my keyring wasn’t in desperate love with the lanyard of my work ID, I wouldn’t have a chance of locating either.  I’d have to stalk elderly ladies in the parking lot, hoping one would have a Pavlovian reaction to my car from a previous encounter, and people tend to misconstrue behavior like that, or so I’ve heard.

What was I saying?  Oh, right.

So as amusing as a beeping remote or coffee mug might be, I’ve decided on a more subtle method:

Warning Cone Flag

I’ve decided to plant orange flags on anything I set down, even for a second.  I’ll need seven for the average work day and maybe a set of ten or fifteen for home use.  And one for the roof of my car, which I hope will keep the AARP from sending me strongly worded letters.

The flags will be collapsible and carried around in a quiver.  I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the cones, which are necessary for stability . . . which I assume upon re-reading this post, is also something I should be working on.

I’ll just go put a flag on that.


*You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.

**Hey, blinking is semi-involuntary.  Just out of curiosity, how many of you consciously stopped blinking when you read that?  Weird, right?

***I think it also locks and unlocks the car doors, but that’s clearly a secondary function.

^Because my purse is a Bag of All Holding, not a Bag of All Finding.



The Sky is a Rutabaga, or Why There is No Post Today

Brain Fail

I’m having a Duck in the Shooting Gallery Day—the kind where I make a lot of trips back and forth for things I’ve forgotten, hoping no one fires.

It started when I arrived in my department and discovered I’d forgotten something in my car.  I grabbed my keys, but remembered at the elevator that I’d need my badge to get back in the building, so I went back to get my badge . . . and realized inside the elevator that I didn’t have my keys anymore.

I’m off tomorrow and well aware of it, but I still tried to schedule training for our new intern tomorrow morning.  Once with our Scheduling Queen, who is a wonderful person with whom I can’t adequately communicate even in my lucid moments,* and again five minutes later with the intern, whom I’m sure is feeling confident about being trained by someone who clearly has trouble grasping the fundamental concept of time.

I ran out of item donation forms, printed twenty copies of the wrong one, and then hacked a stack of the right ones apart with the paper-cutter like I was reenacting the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.**

After trying for ten minutes to get the catalog to cough up the record for a specific parochial school yearbook,*** I saw that I wasn’t misspelling the name of the saint, I was misspelling school.  Five minutes and a few choice words after that, I figured out that I’d somehow set it to search for DVDs.

I’m adequately caffeinated, my sinuses are quiet, I had breakfast, and I’m not rushed or anything.  And it’s not that my brain isn’t engaged, it just doesn’t have much traction.

So clearly, the majority of my brain cells are off doing something else today.  I hope they’re working on the book and not succumbing to meningitis or trypanosomiasis or narcolepsy or pernicious hypochondria or something.

Maybe they’ll come back after lunch.

Or maybe I should go find them before they get me into even more trouble . . .

See you tomorrow.


*We’re both bright people who speak the same language, work in the same department, have the same level of education,  but for some reason, our respective transmitters and receivers don’t sync.  When one of us says anything more complicated than, the sky is blue, the other one just doesn’t get it and feels dumb.  Or we think the other person isn’t getting it, so we try again, except the other person did understand actually, for once, but couldn’t get that across, either and is now feeling patronized.   And that’s on good days, when I’m not likely to walk up to her with my brain spinning in the sand and say that the sky is a rutabaga  without my conscious knowledge.

** Yes,  I did count my fingers afterwards.  Always do.

***Either our catalog hates yearbooks or all of our cataloguers have. I’ve memorized their shelf locations in deference to my blood pressure, and  if I didn’t need the OCLC number to process donations, I’d leave their records alone.