A Moment's Notice:
Striving for Awareness of Each Moment,
Reflecting on Events of the Moment
This morning I went through my usual go-to-work checklist. Bottle of water: check. Watch: Check. Earrings: Check. Engagement ring: -----. Engagement ring? Engagement ring?!
Every night I slip off my rings and put them to bed: Right hand ring in the oval jewelry box, engagement ring in the tiny heart shaped ring holder. As a creature of habit I do this without thinking, one of a long list of auto-pilot activities I engage in daily.
But the auto-pilot must have been on strike last night, because this morning the ring was not in its proper place. I’d like to say that I’m always ready to walk out the door at least 15 minutes early each and every morning, waiting expectantly on the bench by our back door, meditating on the glory of the new day. I’d like to say that.
Reality: I require as many minutes as I’ve allotted myself every single day. If I wake up at 7 a.m. I can be ready by 8. If I wake up at 5 a.m. I can be ready by 8.
After all, there are so many decisions to be made. The granola bar or the yogurt or both? Dare I have chips today? The green shirt with the blue pants and floral jacket? The green shirt with the white sweater? The green shirt is horrid. Let’s go with the pink blouse…
This is why I will never get a tattoo.
I digress. The point is I discovered my ring was AWOL with approximately 4 and ½ minutes to spare. I dumped out the oval jewelry box, looked under a larger box on my dresser where things have been known to hide, ran into the kitchen, ran back to the bedroom, time to go.
I drove to the school where I was scheduled to work as a substitute without striking any mailboxes or small animals. I talked to myself throughout the trip, comforted by the fact that if any other motorists noticed me they’d assume I was talking to someone on my cell phone.
I conducted a self-interrogation. I had worked at the same school the day before in the office. I took off the ring yesterday morning to apply some hand cream; had I put it back on? Wouldn’t I have noticed it on the desk when I left at the end of the day? Wouldn’t I have felt the ring’s absence when I applied hand sanitizer? Did the other secretaries notice me wearing it?
As desperate as I was to find my ring I was reluctant to ask my friends about it. The noble reason is that I didn’t want to worry them, sweet ladies that they are. The truth is that I thought my predicament made me appear silly and scatterbrained, and the notion of admitting a mistake is anathema to a recovering perfectionist.
I managed to lock my pride in the glove compartment and asked about the ring as soon as I arrived at school. The other secretaries immediately started looking on, under, and around the desk where I had worked the day before. They offered sympathy and search suggestions simultaneously. In addition, my classroom aide peppered me with ideas throughout the morning. The team on “CSI” is not as determined as a group of women in search of a missing engagement ring.
“Did it fall in a drawer?”
“Did it fall in the file cabinet?”
“Did you look in the trash can, all the way to the bottom?”
“Dump out your purse; you might have dropped it in there.”
Had I not worked with kindergarteners I might have flown apart like a white dandelion. Being with them forced me to set aside my rising panic and focus on the sounds made by “ch,” “sh,” and “th.” I also enjoyed some sunshine on the playground and read a book filled with finger plays. It’s hard to be crazed when singing “This Old Man.”
My assignment was for the morning only, and as I left at lunchtime my cadre of searchers reassured me that the ring was somewhere in my house and asked me to call if I found it. I had already decided I wouldn’t call if I didn’t. I’d be in a corner seeking solace with a box of Raisinets.
When I returned home I dropped my purse and tote bag at the door and renewed my search. I was not optimistic; I expected I’d only find confirmation of my carelessness.
I retraced the steps taken that morning. On the kitchen island? No. Oval jewelry box? No. Under the hexagonal box? No. Hmmm, didn’t check this little ceramic box before. Yes!
So, what was lost has now been found. I resolve to apply hand lotion only in the security of my bathroom, to give myself more than 4 and ½ minutes to spare in the morning, and to thank my quartet of detectives profusely.
Well, one of out of three ain’t bad.