First, let me say that, obviously, the idea of posting these Second Third entries on Wednesdays has fallen by the wayside. This is primarily because this winter has been crazy busy, especially since three Wednesdays a month, I teach Confirmation classes. So I’m settling for weekly, roughly. If I end on or about November 10th with The Second Third, Week 52, I shall declare victory.
I had an Alien Abduction moment last week. I woke at about 5:20 a.m., rolled over, and in the pre-dawn gloom, discovered my wife was not beside me. This struck me as curious enough that I mustered the wind to croak, “Jodi…” and listen, half-asleep, for a response.
My eyes opened a bit wider. “Jodi?”
Nothing. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. No noise from the bathroom. No lights visible anywhere. Probably on the couch with a sick kid, I thought. But I usually hear sick kids.
I rose, stepped carefully past the snoring Schnauzer in the darkness, walked down the short hallway and into the living room.
I turned my head from the side to side, dumbly, in the darkness. No signs of a struggle. (Yes, I actually thought that.) Where could she be?
Perhaps I only stood there for a few seconds, perhaps longer. Eventually I occurred to me that she had told me something before bed, something relevant. What was it?
She had told me she was getting up and going walking at the indoor track at our high school early in the morning. I had heard her say it, and no doubt it registered subconsciously, because I had slept soundly through her rising and leaving. But it took awhile to recall it consciously.
I have a knack for hearing but not listening. This is not selective hearing, per se, which all people cultivate to a certain extent. This is a problem in which I hear everything you are saying, and mere seconds later, it’s gone.
It’s not a matter of simple distraction, although if I’m engrossed in something, it’s almost a given that I’m hearing you but not computing. (On the other hand, I can doodle my way through a meeting and catch all of it.)
No, distractions and “multi-tasking” (in which we do several things poorly at the same time) are different evils altogether. What I’m describing is “in-one-ear-and-out-the-other” in it’s worst form. Jodi can do everything right: she can get my attention, get me to put down the book I’m reading or shut off the TV and look at her, tell me what she’s going to tell me, tell me, then tell me she told me…and I can blink and lose all of it. Sometimes I realize immediately that my memories been wiped clean, and will ask, sheepishly, for her to repeat herself. I’m sure that, more often, I have no idea it’s happened. One can’t remember what one has forgotten.
And it’s not just Jodi, though she has so many more opportunities per day to be the victim (or perpetrator?) that she is the person most frequently connected to it. Lucky gal.
In my Second Third, I need to figure out this little glitch in my software. Unfortunately, they say the memory is the first thing to go.