My brain, that is.
The number of idiotic occurences piling up in my rearview is only getting bigger. It started about a month ago when I lost my editing notebook. I looked everywhere for it — at home, at work, in the cars, in the bedroom, under the sofa, in the freezer … you know, all the normal places where you might leave the single most important object in the writing of your novel outside of the novel file itself. For all intents and purposes, the thing had slipped from the earthly realm and vanished to join the lost left socks and misplaced ballpoint pens of the world.
But I’m a forgetful sort, so distressing as it was, losing the notebook wasn’t all that surprising.
Then, a trip to the grocery this weekend. We arrive home and unload the foodstuffs and all is well, until my wife goes looking for the mixed nuts. She doesn’t remember unloading them, I don’t remember unloading them. We scour the cupboards, the countertops, the pantry, the fridge; no dice. I go to check the car to see if maybe I overlooked them while unpacking the car. Negative. Finally, she finds them stuck on top of the fridge behind a bunch of half-empty boxes of cereal, because of course mixed nuts belong on top of the fridge where they can’t be seen–where else would they go?
Today, I go to get in the van to head home from work, and it stinks. The inside of the van smells like a dead raccoon moldering in a ditch. This is patently weird because by and large, we don’t eat in the van. The kids do, though, and on reflection I decide it’s possible the sprout spilled some milk and it’s going bad under the seats. On the hunt I go, only to discover, lying between the second and third row seats, a grocery bag with a four-pound pack of chicken. Two days in the sun, rotting away and befouling the plastic bag that’s thankfully still wrapped around it. Let’s not forget that this very chicken was sitting in the floor of the van the very night before, when I was out looking for mixed nuts, and I completely failed to notice it. Of course I don’t misplace a box of crackers which would be perfectly good after a few days in a hot car, or even a box of popsicles which might melt harmlessly in their wrappers; no, I mislay ten dollars worth of chicken which has to be thrown right out.
Well, today wasn’t done with me.
I found the notebook.
This would be a good thing if it didn’t make me feel so very painfully idiotic. It was on my desk at work. Right there, plainly sat on the desktop, albeit obscured under another, larger, notebook. For four weeks, it was right there, within arm’s reach. Were it a snake, as my dad likes to say, it would have bitten me dozens of times over. I’m happy to have it back, but … really? For all the digging through closets and rooting around file cabinets and dumping out of desk drawers, I couldn’t bother to displace one notebook on my desktop?
I’m starting to think it’s not just my aging brain, not just simple forgetfulness or absent-mindedness. I think my subconscious was actively trying to keep the thing hidden away from me all this time. How else could it hide for so long in virtually plain sight? Had I stayed locked in with the notes I was taking, would the narrative-shattering idea which struck me yesterday have ever lit in my brain? I think it far more likely I would have finished my first pass and rolled on with the rewrite without pausing to re-evaluate the work as a whole — something I was forced to do on account of having lost my notes from the beginning of the edit.
Or maybe, as I am wont to do, I’ve made entirely too much of a meaningless coincidence. Things don’t always have to mean things. Nah, it’s probably just my brain rotting away from the inside. I’ll be in the shower, looking for my keys.