I am about to reveal some frightening things about myself. You’ve been warned. They are pretty embarrassing to put on paper, but I feel like they illustrate a point worth making, so I will sacrifice my reputation to help us all learn something (and I feel like it’s only fair to let you know what you are up against should you choose to leave the safety of your own home after reading this). Here we go…
The first confession is by far the worst: One day I was making an apple pie while I was home alone. When I went to add the cinnamon I couldn’t find it anywhere (even though I was certain I had just bought a brand new bottle). As I got ready to run to Walgreens to get more, after searching the entire house for cinnamon, I remembered that my in-laws were in town and had taken my car to run errands. I thought about taking my bike, then remembered it was at the shop getting a new tire. Since the shop is only about a half mile from my house, I decided I would just walk to the bike shop, ride to the store for cinnamon and come home and finish my pie. So, I got my keys, went to my car and got my wallet out of my purse and proceeded to walk to the bike shop (at this point, if you are not saying “huh?” In your head, you should probably stay home today for your own safety and that of others). Yes, you read that right. I got my wallet out of my CAR and walked to the bike shop because I had no CAR to drive to the store. The scariest part is that it didn’t even come together in my head until I was pulling in my driveway after I rode my bike to the store for cinnamon. Sigh. It’s just so humiliating. I didn’t tell anyone at all for a few weeks. I couldn’t bear to admit that my brain had completely shut down like that.
That one was a doozy. The others are milder and spread out over the years, but here are just a few examples of what happens when there is no “zzzzt” going on in my brain:
I once left my car running the entire time I was with my kids while they ate and played in the tubes in McDonalds Playland (even though I had gone to my car to get something out of it about halfway through).
Once, as I went in to church, my husband reminded me to shut the doors to the van but instead of shutting one I apparently opened the other with my key remote, leaving both doors wide open as it poured rain for the next hour.
A couple of years ago, I got the mail, looked through it and for some reason set it on top of my car. One envelope contained a large check and it blew away in the cul-de-sac, as I headed out for our Christmas Eve service. We didn’t realize it was missing until my husband asked about it the next morning, after it had snowed about 4 inches. I spent Christmas morning digging around in the snow looking for WHITE envelopes! I am happy to say that they were recovered but after much emotional turmoil and cold, manual labor.
(My sweet husband just came home for lunch. He kindly reminded me, after I told him about the stories I was telling on myself, that on that same Christmas Eve I had gotten out of the car as it began to snow and my cell phone fell off my lap, unnoticed. So on Christmas Day we also drove around the church parking lot calling my phone until we found it—intact and frozen. I think I must have blocked that all out—way too much to handle…)
And just yesterday, I seriously almost backed over the “cart-boy” at the grocery store because the sun was making a glare on my back-up camera in my car and I couldn’t see him. It did not even occur to me to look out the actual window, like a normal person, until I saw him leaping out of the way and “flagging” me on. What in the world??????
So, lest this be the last of my blogs you ever read, let’s just throw out a lesson or two that might redeem such terrifying stories. I think most of us have done things like search the house for our glasses/sunglasses, only to find them on top of our head (please say “yes” or I am in worse trouble than I thought). But my examples are the result of a bigger problem than being blonde or spacey.
For me, they are a direct indication of my mind being preoccupied with worry or stress or fear. When my mind is focused on those things, the space leftover for rational, logical, engaged thinking becomes very tiny. The fixation on trying to make sense of or manage an unmanageable situation takes over my mind so that everyday, menial tasks become too much for me to handle. I forget things. I can’t put two and two together. I almost kill people!
A reminder I hear regularly from a wise person in my life is to “keep my head with my hands.”
This way no one gets hurt. My instructions are: If I am driving, I focus on driving. If my kids are talking to me, I actually listen and don’t pretend to be listening while my thoughts are worried about other things. If I am working out, I focus on the task at hand. If I am with one friend, I don’t let my mind be distracted by the hurt caused by a different friend.
Fretting and stewing about people, places and things while I am trying to “live” my life, keeps me from experiencing the joy of the moments and can be downright dangerous to myself and others.
So—there you have it. Scary Stories by Heather Carter. Please, for the love of Pete, let it help you in some way, because that was painful (by the way, about a month later my friend brought me a bottle of cinnamon I had apparently taken to her house to dust my pineapple with. I am not sure if this information helps or hurts my case 😜).