The other morning while taking my meds, a tiny thyroid pill fell from my fist to the floor. Pills roll. I searched on hands and knees to no avail. About an hour later I found the pill in my shoe. Suddenly, I was walking on a pebble inside my shoe, an annoying pebble that turned out to be my tiny lost tablet.
The other afternoon I was stirring up a chicken casserole to share with a friend when I dropped my glasses into the soupy mix. Well, the casserole was cooked so any germs were destroyed, and I eventually got my glasses unsticky.
Last week, my husband, who was lying on the floor fixing something — sink? Computer cords? I don’t remember. But I remember he asked me to hand him his glasses. He told me they were in the drawer of his nightstand. I walked 15 feet into the bedroom and back to his location and handed him his phone — which had been lying right next to the glasses. Then I turned out the overhead light and left him lying there, not just near sighted, but also in dark.
On several occasions I have been discovered wearing four pairs of glasses: one on my head, one tucked into the neck of my T-shirt (from which they sometimes fall into casseroles), and two pair on my eyes, one on top of the other. I laugh hysterically, and he shakes his head with worry.
I delight in these misadventures or funny moments. But my perfect husband sees them as a problem. He calls them moronic interludes and wants to know why I cannot stay in the present and pay attention. He asks me, “Where does your mind go, when it goes away? What are you thinking about when you should be thinking about what you are doing?” He advises me not to think about what I am going to be doing next, but to concentrate on what I am doing “now.”
I’ve thought a good bit about this recurring disagreement. I think it is a difference in the male and female brain. Or at least in our two brains.
For example, he only thinks about driving when he is driving. I am thinking about driving, of course, but I am also watching the scenery. He misses everything (except gas prices, which he reads out to me compulsively). I can watch the road and my mirrors, listen to the radio, calculate my ETA, or plan my monthly menus.
When I handed him the phone instead of the glasses, I was writing a column. Not this one, but one that I haven’t finished yet. I had about 500 of my 800-word limit in my mind. When I dropped the pill, I was thinking about what time I needed to start chopping two pounds of carrots in order to make the copper pennies that he had requested.
Some people — I won’t say some genders — but some people see time chronologically. They are constantly in the present. That is wonderful, and we all need more of being present in the moment. I am present in the moment every Monday and Tuesday from 6 to 7 when I go to yoga. Every day, I am present in the moments just before dawn, when everyone in the world is asleep except me, (and maybe Don Earnhart), and I can experience grace and gratitude. Savor my existence; just be. Or sometimes just be with coffee.
The rest of the day, I am in interchangeable past, present, future, and the what if? I am sometimes listening to my monkey mind and sometimes not. My brain processor is not linear but Gestalt. I see everything all at once. Items and moments individually but more as a part of a whole. Many left-handed people do. So do many crazy people, but I am not crazy, just left-handed.
No quarterback whether left-handed or right-handed is ever just in the moment. He or she is paying attention to other people on the field, offense and defense, wind speed, running speed of the intended receiver, space and measurements and predictions, and all the while the play is being evaluated for workability and last-minute adjustments, and underneath this seeming moment are layers of knowledge and awareness of technical rules and the muscle memory of how to throw and when to give up and curl into the fetal position and protect the ball.
Every woman, every school teacher, every writer or gardener, every highway builder, or banker, (or you name the work) is doing the same thing.
And all of us, husbands, wives, or quarterbacks, all of us have the ability to focus and the possibility of mind wandering in the moment.
These moments are human.
Don’t worry. Sometimes we should just focus on the funny.