I’m just going to say it. A few weeks ago I lost an envelope…in my house…with $10,000 cash inside. Painstakingly saved in secret over almost two years, it was earmarked for a very special vacation for a very special anniversary. I’d never before kept so much cash at home but this was a mission. That afternoon I reached my goal, sealed the envelope, and put it back in the drawer where I’ve “hidden” money for almost 40 years, intending to take it to the bank later in the week. A few days later I opened the drawer to find…no envelope.
I was pretty calm for the first few days, confident it would turn up. The phone must have distracted me…let me take out all the drawers in the dresser…still pretty calm…then the pace picked up as I just-shy-of-manically turned every bag upside down and every pocket of every jacket inside out. I lifted the mattress, scoured the laundry chute, tore apart the kitchen cabinets and emptied the medicine cabinet. And sigh, the garbage was picked up the day before.
One friend hides her money in her fish tank. Another buries her cash in a Ziplock in the backyard. My aunt used to put hers in a hollowed out book on a bookshelf. And my neighbor told me she rolls hers up and hides it in a tampon box. But these are solutions for protection from theft. I know my cash wasn’t stolen.
I don’t blame my forgetting on a “senior moment.” It’s clear why it happened. My attention drifted from the task at hand…putting the money back…and wandered onto…what? What interfered with my ability to focus? I tried to get back to that moment, but like the Seinfeld episode in the parking garage, if you don’t think about something in the first place… imprinting it in your memory to be retrieved later…there’s no way you’re going to recall it when you need to.
Because I was obviously multitasking, the part of my brain carrying out the routine activity of returning the money to where it belonged, doesn’t connect with the part of my brain responsible for conscious thought. I’ve reconstructed the entire scenario…counting the bills on the bed… putting them in piles of the same denomination, all in order, face up, in the envelope, licking it closed, writing the amount and the date on the front of the envelope…like a crime scene. But there’s no aha moment after that. I must call my cell phone from my house phone once a week when I misplace it…if only my envelope had a ringer.
I’m trying to maintain faith in my ability to dredge up some unconscious material and believe all might still be well. Abandoning logic, I’ve even considered buying a pendulum one spiritual acquaintance suggested I might use for guidance in the hopes that a foray into hoogie moogiedom might reveal where my money is residing. I’ve sat quietly, got meditative and listened for an answer. Then I waited for an image to form in my mind’s eye. I obviously suck at divining locations out of thin air.
Please understand I am SO aware that this is not a tragedy. Even coupon-saving, bargain-hunting, this-side-of-unnecessarily-frugal me knows that in the proverbial scheme of things this loss is nowhere near the health and safety issues that are life changing.
But you get why I had to write this, right? Because I know in this kind of misery, I definitely have company.