Thursday, March 10, 2011

Black Holes and Amnesia Portals

Millie writes:

I can't find my brush.

I'm the only one who uses this brush, and the only time I take it from its assigned spot in the bathroom cabinet is when I'm using it to brush my hair in the bathroom. It's either put away or in use, no in-between.

Yet it's missing.

My brush is only the latest in a long line of victims, because we live in a house full of black holes.

Everyone knows about socks being eaten in dryers, but in our house it goes far beyond that. Losing things is only to be expected in a family of 8, 7 of whom are completely disorganized (dare I say it?) slobs – but in our house things will sometimes disappear while you're watching them! It's not merely a localized phenomenon, either. For example, in a grocery store I can look at a can of New England clam chowder from the moment I pluck it from the shelf until the moment I place it on the conveyor belt at the checkout counter, yet when I get home it will have morphed somehow into Manhattan clam chowder. No one in their right minds would eat Manhattan clam chowder. This is why I only make clam chowder from scratch, these days – it stays put.

I can put up with a certain amount of what the retail world calls “shrinkage” - a certain percentage of things walking away under their own steam is just a part of doing business. It's the amnesia portals that really bother me.

See, there are a few spots in our house that have become known in our family as “amnesia portals.” I have only to walk through one of these portals – say, the archway between the kitchen and hallway – and whatever thoughts I have will instantly evaporate. There's no way to prepare for it even when I remember it's going to happen. I can be heading in to inventory the toilet paper supply, chanting “toilet paper toilet paper toilet paper” to myself, determined to only have to make ONE TRIP; I will charge through the amnesia portal, be distracted by some sort of ghostly frisson, and then stand there looking dumbfounded. I either have to ask someone, “What was I coming in here for, again?” or go back through the portal and see if I can find the thought my mind dropped on the other side.

I've noticed that lately these amnesia portals seem to be spreading throughout the house.

Oddly, any one of the kids can instantly lay hands on any of his property from even the most disorganized bedroom; and when I send them to the store for clam chowder, they buy and bring home the right chowder.

Come to think of it, my brush is the only one missing . . .

You don't think all these years of child-raising have taken their - what's-the-word - on my mind??

. . . nahhh.


  1. Ha! Amnesia portals suck.

  2. I was trying to remember a word the other day, we were talking, remember? I think it was continuity.

    But I could be off track!

  3. It turns out that the same thing applies to picks, too. I was playing the other day and I set down my pick for just a second, and just like that it disappeared into the Void of Nothingness. All of these things must be congregating somewhere. We've just gotta find it.

  4. Max, I think I'm the one who usually finds your guitar picks; maybe one of these days you'll run across my brush in your gig bag or something. ;)

  5. Nope, all things missing are in a vortex on Kidney Island . . .


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