I like to start the day with a bowl of oatmeal, and usually it goes without incident. I scoop out a quarter cup of oatmeal, sprinkle cinnamon on top, throw in some raisins, a half spoon of Splenda, and a half cup of water. Easy peasy, right? Well, at least most mornings. One day last week, I went through the whole routine, but when it was time to put the oatmeal away, I couldn’t find the lid. I searched the countertop, checked the living room, and even looked in the refrigerator. How could a lid disappear into thin air?
Since I’m on a tight schedule in the mornings, I decided the best thing to do was slip a freezer bag over the top.As soon as I put the makeshift lid on top and picked up the oatmeal to put it away, I discovered the lid was on the bottom. Somehow, I’d managed to set it down perfectly and the lid was invisible because of the way I looked at the box.
Had I logically thought about it, and looked at the box in a different way, I would have seen the lid. Instead, I saw just what I expected to see—a box of oatmeal with the lid missing.
I seem to spend a lot of time looking for items I can’t find. It reminds me of how Jim used to say, “Right here but I can’t find it.” That’s how I felt Thursday, when I took a day’s vacation to be prepared for my two commitments that night. I was so geared up that I woke up hours before the alarm was set to jangle me out of bed.
First, I needed to get things ready for my Business Women’s meeting, and then for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s bank night. For bank night, I needed to register more team members, and type donations into the spreadsheet. I put on a pot of coffee, fired up my netbook and prepared to go to work.
For the Business Women’s meeting, I went to my roll-around bag to get my president’s pins to put in the box I use for items to put on the “sharing table.” Not a problem. That’s where I keep them. Except, they weren’t there. I spent an hour searching high and low, while the clock ticked away. I wasn’t getting anything done. Finally, I decided hunting for something I couldn’t find wasn’t a good use of the limited time I had, so I moved on. I worked steadily throughout the day and was proud of my accomplishments. Done in plenty of time for the three o’clock setup for Bank night.
I dressed for the evening’s activities, in purple, of course. My purple nail polish was wearing off, so I decided to re-do my nails. They sure looked pretty—at least until I dinged one of them up and had to strip that nail and polish it again. I knew my nails weren’t completely dry, but I needed to be going. I hauled my bags to the car, and took off. Wow! On time and all. So good.
About a quarter of a mile down the road, I noticed I had another messed up nail—much too bad to ignore. But, no problem, I could touch it up since I’d put the polish in my purse—hadn’t I? Just to be on the safe side, I stopped for a quick search. I didn’t see the polish, so I turned around and went back home.
I parked my car in the driveway and hustled down the walk to the door. I was drenched in sweat. I re-applied deodorant and walked into the living room to pick up the polish. It wasn’t there. Okay, it must have been in my purse after all. Back to the car, dumped out the purse—no polish. Down the walk, to the door, more sweat, re-apply deodorant, and search for nail polish. There it was in the kitchen. Why? I have no idea. Had I only looked in a different way when I came through the door, I would have seen it. After all, it was hiding in plain sight.
When I think back on the last few days, I have to consider Alzheimer’s warning sign #7: Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Hmmm. Yep. That’s been happening a lot lately. I refuse to look at the other warning signs—I’m not in denial, I believe my brain has simply short-circuited with the overload. At least, that’s the way I choose to look at it.
When we look at life, we often look at it in the same old way. We miss so much because we don’t step back and take a fresh look. We see what we expect to see instead of what is right in front of us.