Take Me Back Tuesday - Installment #2

scat·ter·brain (skāt'ər-brān')  
n.  A person regarded as flighty, thoughtless, or disorganized.


I’m not one to keep track of things. The capability of putting something away (and then remembering where I put it later) has eluded me since I was a kid. Just this last weekend Lovemuffin asked what I'd done with a gift card I received at Christmas, and I had no idea where it was. It’s not for lack of trying. I just can’t keep track of where I stuff things. (Step one to addressing the problem - admitting I throw things in random places without thinking.)

I went through my dresser drawers, favorite hiding places ("Hey! An SD card! I've been looking for that!"), the office, my closet.

“Where did you put it?” he asked me. “You lost another one?”

“I didn’t lose it.” (My answer every time.)
“It's in a safe place.”

That’s his new joke when I can't find something. “Did you put it where you put everything else? In a ‘safe’ place?”

Ha ha. More jokes. Hardy har har.

When I was a kid, the main things I forgot about had value. Now it's not so bad - a few dollars, the lighter Lovemuffin uses to light the barbeque (found it in my make-up drawer yesterday), candy. Back then, I didn’t misplace things exactly - I simply forgot about their existence for a short while. Forgot long enough that when I did remember where I'd put them, it was too late to do anything about it.

Example 1: I’m seven years old and my parents have just gotten married. My mom and dad give my step-sister and I each a gold ID bracelet with the date of the wedding on it (it probably said something personal on it too, but I can’t remember), to symbolize us all becoming one family. It was special. A special present marking a very special occasion. 

I loved that bracelet. I’d never had anything so nice, shiny and new before. I was told not to wear it anywhere. (Or maybe I just knew I wasn’t supposed to wear it anywhere. I can’t remember. Point being, I should NOT have worn it anywhere. )

There was a large area of asphalt in front of the main part of my school, and to the left of it was a huge ditch. (Huge to a seven year-old kid anyway.) A swing set and monkey bars was to the right of that ditch, and to the right of that was a big, fat-trunked palm tree with a water fountain underneath it. Kids were always finding new reasons to play in the ditch. (The only time I ever played went near it was to play Red Rover. “Red rover, red rover, send Jessica right over!” I didn't play well. Or get picked early in the game too often. But that’s a different story for a different day.)

My parents haven't been back long from their honeymoon when I decide to wear it to school. A friend and I go play in the ditch at recess, digging around in the dirt after a decent rain. The ground is the perfect consistency to work with - soft enough to dig in, but not so moist that it's muddy. We are making huge piles and having a great time.

I’ve gone back to class and then on home from school when I realize the bracelet is no longer on my wrist.

Example 2: I have no clue what grade I'm in - possibly high school . There's some sort of dress-up day, like spirit week - something along those lines. I'm dressed like a hippie (or maybe it was a nerd?), and have asked my mom if I can wear her old 70’s or early 80’s glasses. They're prescription glasses. Not cute ones, no – these are hideously ugly and not even remotely stylish. Kids are laughing at me because of how "true to character" my glasses really are. I'm quite proud of myself. (And doing my best not to admit they came from my own house. My mom still uses them for back-up when she waits for new ones, can’t find her own, ect. But again, not admitting that to anyone.)

Enter recess time. My friends and I decide to go hang out on the swings - a place we haven't hung out in forever. But, that day, someone has a bright idea to go over there, to the other side of campus and sit on the kiddy swings. I set the glasses down on the sand, right out of my swinging feet's reach. I scurry back to class when the bell rings a few minutes later .

Example 3: It's my thirteenth birthday. One of my (four) grandmothers lives in Maine. I don’t see her often - by the time my thirteenth birthday rolls around, I’ve seen her maybe five times. (Incidentally, she's my step-grandmother, not something that is usually relevant to me. You'll see why I pointed out the step-grandmother part very shortly.)

My grandma sends me a diamond ring for my thirteenth birthday. I am floored, even as young as I am. I can’t believe my grandma would give me something so expensive, so meaningful. To a girl technically not even her own grandchild. And she sent it in the mail, no less. From Maine, all the way to California. To add to the compliment, this ring is something she actually used to wear (it said so in the letter she wrote out and folded up to fit in the ring box). So it's is a hand-me-down of the best kind, something special. I am proud.

My parents ask if they should keep it or if they can trust me.

“Oh, you can trust me. Trust me!”

I wear it to school a few days later. This time, though, I realize my mistake, and decide I probably haven’t made the best decision. So I stick it in my backpack, and plan to take it out when I arrive home and put it back away.

I never found the bracelet. I begged everyone in the school office to ask anyone who entered those doors about my bracelet. Day after day I checked to see if someone had “dropped it off” at the lost and found. It wasn’t lost. It was taken. I know this. I ran back to the dirt after school that day and looked all through our piles. Someone found it after my recess and kept it (with the date May 2 and my name on it, no less). Guaranteed.

My mom's glasses were in pieces. One lens was missing, the frame beyond repair. Someone either came along after I went back to class and swung as high as their little legs could propel them into the air before landing on them, or, the possible (and most likely) other scenario is a kid just broke them... on purpose. I'll never know.

Tires and lawn equipment were not my friend. Grandma's ring fell out of my backpack sometime between me getting out of my friend’s car after school, and running into her house. By the time I realized it was missing from my backpack, someone had already driven over it (with a lawn mower or car), and my friend's dad had blown it into the grass with the leaf blower. The diamond was completely gone. Crushed into smithereens probably. We found the band intact but bent, with a worn off darker area where the diamond’s prong had previously been.  At least I still have that.  I've only taken it out of the box a few times in the past (almost)

 twenty years.DSC_0647.jpg picture by munchi5gal

After reading those examples, you'd think I would have learned my lesson.  Then again, maybe I did.  Maybe that's why now I only misplace little things, trivial items my brain won't lock into memory for future reference.

I'm sure I'll find the gift card in the next month or so.  But if I don't, I can tell you where it isn't.  It's not in a pile of dirt, or underneath the swings. It didn't get chopped up by a lawn mower, either.   It's around here somewhere in this house, waiting in a safe place until I find it.  And I will find it, eventually.


Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I can so relate!! I've learned that I put things in a couple of spots. And if the item isn't there, then it truly is lost. I have this drawer in my kitchen...it's like a war zone. That's where my gift card would be. If I could find it. LOL!

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

I have the same drawer Elana! And I've cleaned it out many times, but it's no use! It always ends up full of junk again!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I have that drawer, too - right next to my refrigerator!

I am shocked that my name still does not appear as one of the official definitions for scatterbrain. It is TRULY my greatest gift. :-)

Natalie Murphy said...

You're adorable. I loved reading this post.

BK Mattingly said...

I feel like I'm always misplacing things. I'm terrified I'll loose my flashdrive, it has so many important things on it.

Dennis Hodgson said...

You obviously don't know what has happened to all the things you've apparently misplaced, but I have an explanation: