Not Exactly Staying in the Moment

It’s Sunday morning and I’m walking downstairs, my special prescription computer glasses still on.  I’ve just printed out the Times crossword to work on over breakfast. The stairs are a little out of focus as I step down, but I manage. The crossword’s in one hand and in the other I’ve got two pair of dime-store cheaters, my go-to reading glasses, that I grabbed from the nightstand.  As I negotiate the stairs I smile myself a little ‘high-five’ for belaying a trip back up later, when I’ll need a pair to do the crossword.  Thinking ahead, I say to myself quite smugly.

I’ve forgotten, however, that I already have a pair of cheaters on my head; parked there when I found them in the bathroom, earlier that morning. So, at 6 AM I’m already adorned with four pair of glasses.

As I pass through the dining room I notice my prescription driving glasses and my prescription sunglasses on the table where I’d emptied my purse last evening, looking for – reading glasses.

I put the cheaters from the nightstand on the dining room table where they join my prescription specs and the pair of ancient, lens-scratched glasses with broken frames that I keep repairing because … you never know.

In the kitchen, I take off my computer glasses, put them on the butcher block – then pick them up and walk back through the house and put them on the table by the stairs where I’ll see them the next time I go up to use the computer. Thinking ahead.

Fortunately, I remember still have a pair of cheaters on my head, so when I get back to the kitchen, having passed the now five pair of glasses on the dining room table, I put them on so can see well enough to safely chop the peppers, mushrooms and basil for my omelet without incident. I smile myself another high five – especially because I saved myself the embarrassment of wandering the house looking for glasses all the while wearing a pair on my head; a pretty regular occurrence.

You can probably guess that, later, when I go back up to use the computer, I walk right by the glasses on the table by the stairs.  Lost in thought about something I can’t remember now, there’s much internal finger wagging as I do a U-ie on the upstairs landing.

I wag my finger at myself a lot these days, wondering why I can’t remember things.  Or why I can’t seem to develop a routine that, at the very least where my glasses are concerned, makes me take off any pair I’m wearing and leave them in the room I am exiting. The original plan, for all these dime-store cheaters, was to leave one pair in every room in the house.  But somehow, at some point each day, most of them end up collected in one place – and not always the same place, so I never know where my (computer, driving, reading, sun) glasses are.

Maybe not enough glasses?

It’s a small thing, I know.  I haven’t really lost my glasses – or my memory, really.  But among all the adjustments we need to make as we get older, this one, for me, is a daily reminder of how hard it is to stay focused – grounded, in the moment. I find this especially true when trying to fully complete one task before getting distracted by another.

Multi-tasking is a vice invented, I’m convinced, by ‘productivity-at-all-costs’ US capitalism. It’s nurtured by our own (maybe women’s in particular) ‘have-and-do-it-all’ expectations that everything is as important as everything else and so we feel we must act immediately on each thing that grabs our attention; no matter the task at hand.

No matter that you are heading for the closet to get the vacuum cleaner out, there’s the mail you haven’t opened yet, or the cats’ food dishes are dirty and it will just take a moment to wash them.  There’s the phone by the sink, which should probably be charged, so might as well check to see if anyone answered your Next Door post. And since you’re on the phone, maybe check the news to see what new craziness in happening in the world, and oh, look, a Facebook post from a distant cousin …

Then tomorrow, while deciding right now is the time clean out the garage, or maybe hem that dress that’s been draped on the sewing machine for the past month, you notice all the dust bunnies in the corners, the cat hair piling up on the rug, and the vacuum cleaner – cord still wound up – sitting by the closet.

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