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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

In which smart people are amazingly stupid. [20101222|13:26]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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This is a morality tale about why absent-minded academics should not be allowed to date one another.

The bloke and I are both really bad at two things: geographical directions, and remembering where our keys/wallet/phones are. If we arrive at an intersection in the car on our way to, say, London, and he says, “I know this one, we should definitely go right,” I will say, “No no, I remember we’re supposed to go left.” Inevitably we will both be wrong. We will not realize this until we arrive in Birmingham.

Additionally, I seem to be able to remember where he put his wallet/keys/phone, but I can’t recall where I put my own. He can’t remember either, so we tend to be dependent upon my knowing where his things are, just so we have at least one wallet/key/phone.

Last night we decided to celebrate his return by going over to some friends’ house for raclette, champagne, and extremely bad renditions of Every Rose Has Its Thorn on Singstar. The bloke didn’t bring his keys because he believed he’d left them in Germany or possibly Belgium on his arduous journey back from San Francisco. I took out the recycling before racing to the car because while we are usually on time, we never seem to be able to manage that without rushing.

We locked the cats in the house overnight because it was cold, figuring we’d be back fairly early the next morning to let them out. And indeed, we arrived just before 9 AM. We reached the front door. I fished in my pocket for my keys.

They weren’t there.

Twenty minutes of searching all pockets and the car, turning my handbag inside out and looking through the recycling bin yielded nothing. We had to phone our only friend with a spare set of keys. He lives in a village near Cambridge, but he works in Enfield. Since he’s accustomed to our mutual ineptitude, he drove all the way back to rescue us. It took him almost two hours.

In the meantime, we went to get a hot breakfast at the cafe. On our return, the cats peered at us through the bay window, mewing piteously. I racked my brains trying to think how I could have lost my keys in going between our house and the car, and our friends’ house and the car and couldn’t come up with anything. Our friends had searched their house and found nothing.

Our rescuer arrived and opened our door, making extensive commentary about our lack of common sense, which we meekly took in silence. Cups of tea and chocolate chip cookies were consumed, and he went smugly away. We took up the search for keys again.

Five minutes later, the bloke came downstairs with his keys in his hand. They had been in his carry-on luggage. I went outside to look through the recycling bin again.

Ten minutes later, I came in with my keys in my hand. They’d gotten trampled into the snow next to the bin.

This is yet another piece of evidence that there should be an upper limit per household on advanced degrees. The more you acquire, the less capable of dealing with reality you become.

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[User Picture]From: chibaraki
2010-12-22 18:57 (UTC)
Possibly everyone you know needs to get together and pitch in to buy you both a satnav and one of those keyrings that leashes to your belt. I know my satnav is the only reason I am not at this moment milling around Washington dead lost.

In the runup to my exams I left either my bookbag or my purse in cafes like three times. One time I got all the way home (literally I walked all the way home in the snow uphill) before realizing my bookbag was not on my back where it belongs, but all the way back where I started in a cafe, alone.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:19 (UTC)
We should get a satnav, but I think both of us have this irrational fear that it will take all the fun out of our journeys. A keyring that leashed to my belt would be a very good idea, though.

Your bookbag story reminds me why I don't like carrying a handbag when I'm going out for the evening. If I can't put the stuff in my pockets, it'll probably end up on the floor of a pub toilet and then I don't want it back anyway. :P
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[User Picture]From: chibaraki
2010-12-22 18:58 (UTC)
Whoops sorry replied in the wrong place BUT STILL.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:22 (UTC)
What I don't get is how some of the rules governing teaching can be so obviously illogical. For instance, our university has some new Teaching Fellow positions. These fellows are given a teaching load of X hours per term. Lecturers are given a teaching load of Y hours per term. Teaching Fellows are supposed to do twice the teaching load of lecturers. However, X != 2Y. X == 1.5Y. Er, what?
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[User Picture]From: pax_athena
2010-12-22 15:04 (UTC)
so we tend to be dependent upon my knowing where his things are, just so we have at least one wallet/key/phone

This is something I can very much identify with :D
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:23 (UTC)

It's as close as we can get to a solution to our mutual dopiness!
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-12-22 16:14 (UTC)
Funny! In all seriousness though, there's got to be some sort of scientific principle that has you sacrificing one part of your brain for another!

And it's too bad that you guys can't find a place to hide a key just in case this ever happens again...!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:25 (UTC)
Heh. I don't really like the idea of hiding keys on the property, but we'll probably give one to another friend!
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[User Picture]From: sanat
2010-12-22 17:45 (UTC)
My flatmate who is shortly entering his post-grad studies just in the past week lost his phone and wallet, regained them, lost the wallet again, missed it for days, and had just gotten round to replace his credit card when he found wallet sitting innocently on a chair in the kitchen.

Getting a head start, I think.
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[User Picture]From: sanat
2010-12-22 17:48 (UTC)
Oh, and he was also inadvertently framed as a debt dodger by the local rag: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/4475102/IRD-gets-tough-on-student-loan-debtors/

I love small countries. We do all get our 15 minutes here.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:26 (UTC)
Well, you have to practise. It's like being a curmudgeon. Takes years of stick-waving and shouting to become a good one.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2010-12-22 18:35 (UTC)


Can't really laugh here - we've got locked out and had to call the locksmith and pay £40 at 11:30pm to break into our own house, and luckily he took our word for it that we did live there, because we had no proof.

Also, Gordon lost his wedding ring in the recycling bin out the back close the other day and only realised half way along the road in the car, and we had to go back and fish it out which involved pliers to open the thing (why they keep them locked shut I don't know).
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:27 (UTC)
Ack! His wedding ring! I'm glad he figured it out quickly, because that would have been terrible.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2010-12-24 09:17 (UTC)
I rely on repetition.

Walk in door, hang keys on hook.

Wallet lives in specific pocket of hip-purse. The *only* time it may be out is (a) in immediate use, to then be returned immediately to magic pocket, or (b) in left back pocket when hitting the clubs. More of an issue ten years ago.

Cell phone lives in left front pocket or on night-stand (serves as alarm). If there is no front pocket, I've tucked it into my sock or 'high pocket'. Ahem.

Your story, however frustrating it might have been, is pretty much gigglesome & adorable. Though I might wait a week or two to admit anything to smug friend ;)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:28 (UTC)
We tried to hang onto the secret, but the bloke went and got drunk with smug friend in the pub and admitted the whole thing. I do not think we will live this down until 2012.
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[User Picture]From: painted_dreams
2010-12-28 02:44 (UTC)
This is exactly why I have to keep my things in their "homes". If they aren't in my purse, I will inevitably lose them. Then I start to panic and frantically search.

I'm absentminded enough that I've locked myself out of a running car. Been locked out of my apartment several times and have lost many a scarf :-(
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-12-31 18:29 (UTC)
Oh, I hate losing scarves/gloves/hats. I always get really attached to them even though I know I shouldn't because at some point they'll get left on a train or in a taxi or something.
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