The Malice of my Inanimate World

Sometimes I feel like I have gone completely mad.  This week it has happened more times than I am willing to confess in a blog.

I have a serious problem.   It’s a real teeth-grinding, heartbeat skipping, blood pressure raising, stress-inducing problem that I have been plagued with since as long as I can remember.  It’s an affliction so debilitating that I have considered medication, but as bad as it is, it’s never kept me from being a good student or successful at work, so I rationalize its severity and continue to deal with it one frustrating week at a time.

 Okay, I’m laying it all out here for you, and this is a vulnerable place to be, but I believe there’s little to no awareness out there for my problem, and I would like to hope that this blog post in some ways serves as a means for shedding light on my condition in case there are other people out there who suffer from it too.  If this post helps at least one person, the embarrassment I feel for putting it out there will not be in vain. 

My brain cannot keep up with the placement of objects.

This very week I spent an entire day searching for important misplaced objects that I would be needing in the near future.  The most important was my American driver’s license so that I can rent a car when I return to the states.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the pocket of my ski jacket, but I can’t find that either (a misguided theory that I developed since I understand that correlation doesn’t equal causation).  After searching for a couple of hours, I didn’t find it.  I did however find one of the two keys to our storage unit which I had also been searching for with no luck.  Funny thing about that object is that I had already given up on it being found.  I had rented a special pair metal cutters to try to cut through the lock, was unsuccessful, and had my husband watching online tutorials for ‘How to pick a lock’, tearing up my bobby pins, and was even a few clicks away from buying a lock picking kit, when lo and behold, the key appeared in a pocket of a purse that I have already searched 8 times!!

My driver’s license search yielded a whole spread of diddies, some things that I had been searching for and some that I hadn’t, including my watch, a 10,000 yen note, some Turkish lira and a host of other strange currencies,  guitar picks, about 8 unsent chronically late birthday cards, and a sympathy card for Trav’s grandma who lost her cat 2 months ago.  For those of you who had a birthday and didn’t get a card from me, I ask that you please have mercy on my affliction.  It’s not because I don’t love you or forgot your birthday.  It’s just the point at which I rediscover the card I bought for you, it’d be too tacky now to send it.  And how do you send a late sympathy card for a lost pet, other than to remind the person that their cat is no longer with us?

I would like to blame my disorganization and object-placement deficiency syndrome on the fact that I’ve made 7 country to country moves over the past 3 years.  But I know that’s not the case.  Yeah, I’ve lost really great stuff even living out of 2 suitcases, including a whole bag of precious sea glass from Lebanon, memory sticks with important data, clothes, shoes, jewelry…  But my problem goes way back.  I can still hear my mother’s voice from early adolescence nagging me, “Someday you’re going to have a child of your own and you’re going to have to get better at keeping up with your sthuuuuuuffff!”

I would also like to blame my bouts of insanity on times spent alone.  Maybe some of my disastrous week is akin to the fact that Trav is gone.  Something about his presence makes me a little more focused, a little less scatterbrained, even though he has a varying degree of the same affliction.  But this week my crazies started the minute I dropped him off at the bus stop to leave for the airport.  It was pouring down rain, and I had planned on going to fetch my car at the O Club where I left it the night before, so that I didn’t have to drive his hooptie around all week.  I distinctly remember having the key to my car in my hand as I hugged him goodbye in the rain.  But somewhere in between hugging him bye and getting back in the car, the key slipped into a black hole.  I had just had it in my hand!!  I called Trav to make sure I didn’t accidentally hand it off to him or drop it in his pocket?  Nope.  I searched the entire car, looking underneath the seats, underneath my rear end, even on the pavement where I hugged him goodbye.  Nothing. Gone!  I was about to have a conniption fit in the parking lot, looking for this key and getting rained on, so I decided to give it a break and go home. The second I pulled into my parking space and got out of the car, there it lay.  On my seat.  Can you tell me that key was under my butt the entire time?!!!! 

Are you kidding me?

I won’t accept that.  Don’t believe it.  Still don’t. 

That’s when I remembered a wacky article that I read my freshman year of college, written by a UCA philosophy professor, Dr. Charles Harvey, entitled The Malice of Inanimates.  Harvey made the argument that instead of blaming ourselves for our missing objects, we should instead understand and accept who is really to blame…the dead-gum objects themselves!  The article gave real evidence that proves inanimate objects are stupid, obdurate, and downright malicious.  Every day objects- car keys, socks, glasses, pens, credit cards, watches, cell phones, even cars-can mess with our heads.  Can you believe these sneaky little bastards actually pop in and out of being?  I do.  And they do so deliberately because they are out to get us!  And once they have a grip on us, they grow in ruthlessness, showing us no mercy.  We all know it’s true, but who is willing to admit to such a preposterous sounding idea?  It’s embarrassing, right?  But how many times can you remember placing something in a specific place, only to come back and find it missing, when you swear you put it there?  And then later, the thing mysteriously returns?   Or we’ve driven an old car that makes a funny rattle, taken it to a mechanic, and the second they check it out the rattle disappears?  I’m not even going to get into computers or electronics; that would require a blog post of its own.  I am adopting this malicious inanimate object theory today once and for all because this is the story of my life.  I believe I have been the most unfortunate victim of malicious objects in the worst degree.  Maybe there’s a support group out there for me.

I do recall Harvey providing strategies for inanimate objects that befool you:

First, you have to understand this is an ongoing full-out war, so a fair amount of agression is required.  Punch that door when it hits you in the face.  Slam your keys down on the table and command them not to leave.  And if they leave anyway, pretend as if you don’t need them in order for them to re-materialize.  Whatever you do, he warns, do not blame yourself or others.  Yeah, I looked in that purse 8 times and the key wasn’t there, and now it is.  So it’s not my fault.    Blaming myself for my cantankerous key is no way to spend my afternoon.  You also have to thwart off the objects’ bad behavior by doing a little paranoid check with them sometimes.  In other words, get them before they get you.  You just bought 8 apples.  Put them in the bowl while saying, “there are 8 apples today!”  You just shut the door to the drier when you open it suddenly again declaring, “There are 4 pairs of socks in here!!”  Finally, do not get upset and do not drop your guard.  Always remain vigilant and aware of your inanimates’ bad intentions and scheming plots.  The second you drop your guard, the inanimates will come back for revenge, sometimes even teaming up together to do you serious psychological harm.

Instead of blaming ourselves, let’s raise awareness on this critical issue.  Today, I am reclaiming my life from malicious inanimates that have stolen part of it, and I hope you do too.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Melissa King (Adelstein) says:

    I vaguely remember Jessica having a similar lecture on inanimate objects in Honor’s. She came home one day saying things like “do you think this table we are sitting at REALLY exists?”

    Great blog. Don’t worry, you are not alone 😉

    1. Thanks Melissa 🙂 Yep, it was Honors Core I that we read it. So profound!! miss you xo

  2. I love this Natalie! I’m in on the war too. I hate inanimate objects. They suck! 🙂 –Chelsea M.

    1. I can only imagine your treacherous dealings with the inanimate world, Chels, having to move all of those stubborn objects from one house to the next! Another theory that I didn’t discuss in the blog– yesterday Joy and I were discussing my problem, and she reminded me that geniuses often have this problem. For example, Albert Einstein couldn’t keep up with his own coffee mug and had a tough time getting through life because he couldn’t be bothered with remembering where his objects were. So maybe we’re just really part genius; too busy solving the world’s problems in our head to be bothered by stuff?! Like it.

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