Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ObliviousGirl Strikes Again!

ObliviousGirl. That was one of my family's nicknames for me growing up. Every time I put a tub full of butter in the sink instead of the fridge or went up and down the toiletries aisle of the store looking for toothpaste and never seeing it right in front of my face the same phrase would ring out:

"ObliviousGirl strikes again!"

I simply don't notice things. The other day I put an empty roll of toilet paper next to my bathroom sink to remind me that I needed to pick up more. Several days later I realized I had been going through my morning and evening routine without even noticing the empty roll was there. Like everything else that isn't of immediate importance, it faded to the background.

I can look at a room in my house and not be able to tell if it's dirty or clean, even if I'm trying, because my brain automatically glosses over all the details.

That's me--ObliviousGirl.

Sometimes, though, I manage to notice things that apply to my son. I notice when he's been quiet for a second too long--the telltale second that informs me he's getting into something. I notice when he's got his little fist wrapped around something that he probably shouldn't have.

But other times I don't notice. Like this morning. He was playing in the kitchen where I was making breakfast, drawing with a pen on a little piece of paper we've given him. I let my ears tune out, and I didn't notice the scratch, scratch, scratch that would have told me he had taken to drawing on the chair instead.

ObliviousGirl struck again.

[One day he's going to be just like me. Sometimes he'll get this far-off look on his face, and I know where's he gone, because I go there too all the time. One day we'll be saying, "ObliviousBoy strikes again!"]

Often it's inconvenient being so absent from the details of the world. I hated learning to drive. Details are rather important when one gets behind the wheel of a car. Details like, for example, the red lights of the car ahead signalling it's about to slow down. I had to teach my brain that some details can't be tuned out, no matter how much it protested.

But then, if I weren't so oblivious, I don't think I'd ever have become a writer. If my brain wasn't so good at ignoring the world, it would never have space for imagination. I live right on the edge between the Land of Reality and the Sea of Dreams, and sometimes I wade out a little too far and begin to lose touch with the shore. The very best stories are deeper in the waves, after all.

So I'll keep my obliviousness. But if I leave your butter in the sink, please pardon me--I really don't do it on purpose.

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