A coffee cup is a sneaky thing. It escapes my clutches, either dashing with all its caffeinated sweetness, charging the barrier that it (was?) my laptop, or disappearing from the spot I had laid it down just a moment before.

Have you seen this cup? Reward offered.

And yes, a couple of months ago, it did indeed destroy my laptop. My new, awesomely-priced, wonderful laptop, destroyed by a single trip—my trip—my eyes half opened, a cup of wakefulness in my hand, and a trip, a stumbling over a flat floor that resulted in a dead, dead laptop.

Cue the comedy sketch of my standing in line at the Geek Squad desk for 20 minutes, the coffee goodness now becoming sickeningly sweet, only to discover that I had not bought it at Best Buy after all.

I DID, however, buy the Accident Protection plan—because I know me, but instead of being able to have it fixed or exchanged in store, I have to wait for a shipping box, mail it to them, and wait for them to mail it back to me.

If I had bought it at Best Buy, I’d have a laptop by now.

Of course, I’d have paid over three hundred dollars more for an approximate model, so there’s that.

I cannot fathom the nastiness that greeted the poor sap who had to open that box upon arrival.

Like a sugar plum fairy, high on Italian Sweet Crème coffee creamer, besought by the odoriferous flatulence that follows a night of carnitas and refried beans, my laptop will flounce into said poor sap’s life,  haunting his or her olfactory memory for a long time to come.

Or so I imagine, anyway.

Let it not be said that I—and by extension, my possessions—do not know how to make an entrance.

But the coffee cup also hides. Rather than hide-and-seek, it’s more search-and-destroy, unraveling my already ragged memory and making me question my sanity.

Well. At least it’s not the first time.

Once I visited my girlfriend-to-be in the hospital, only to realize I had lost my keys when I attempted to go home.

I retraced my steps: I could see myself carrying them into the bathroom on her wing. I could see myself placing the keys on the top of the metal paper towel dispenser, before squatting to do what women tend to do in bathrooms.

They weren’t there.

I was exhausted. Walking from the parking garage to her room—several times—making sure I had not left the in the car, (something else I’ve done before)—and I was worn out.

I called Security. I interrogated—nicely but desperately– housekeeping and nursing staff. “Have you seen them? They look like this…”

No, no. They hadn’t seen them.  “Did you lock the in your car?” my recently reconnected friend asked me.

No. I know I had them in my hand when I entered the bathroom. I remembered the sound they made as they clanged against the metal box. I could see them sitting there as I washed my hands and reminded myself not to forget them.

If my life had depended upon my recollection, I would have crossed my heart and sworn, upon penalty of death, that I carried the keys into the bathroom with me.

If my life had depended upon my recollection, I’d be dead now.

When I looked one more time in the car, I noticed that they were waiting for me, in the little cubby below my radio. In my car. Someplace I had looked before.

I called my parents, just a few miles away and in possession of a spare car key, to rescue me.  It wasn’t the first time that they’ve rescued me. Not even the first time just like this.

There’s something that tends to happen with people who have chronic pain:  mindfog, brainfog, the inability to remember and focus. For me, it’s like being drunk without the buzz. I don’t know if it’s a result of the disease, the medication used to treat it, from the sleep deprivation associated with chronic pain, but it’s something that’s nearly always there.

But this wasn’t that. Maybe the disappearing coffee cup was part of that, but the actual remembering something that didn’t happen was not.

It’s like I’m living in a sci-fi movie. It’s not just forgetting why you’re entering another room; it’s not just standing at the open refrigerator or pantry door trying to remember what you were looking for.

It’s remembering something that didn’t happen, or at least didn’t happen this time.

Maybe I’m time traveling without Marty McFly’s fly ride. Or the Doctor’s blue box.

Maybe I’m remembering things from tomorrow, the next hospital visit or one from years ago.

Maybe there’s no answer for it.

These days, I’m more careful.  I try to be more mindful, paying attention to putting keys, coffee cups, and other various hide-and-seekers down. I live by to-do lists, by calendars and notes that started off as a bullet journal and has degenerated into more of a mad scribbling with many, many things carried over from one day to the next, from one week to the next.

It’s a way of recording on paper so that I don’t have to remember.  It doesn’t help with keys as much as other important things.

I’m still learning the high art of prioritizing.

It’s definitely a work in progress.

[Image credit: Pinterest]

Mind Fog and Dreamy Coffee

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