The first sign that ones dear to me would ongoingly have to help me focus was when I was three. It was sweltering and I was waiting, not so patiently, to get back into the pool. Adult swim was a cruel and awful time that seemed to go on for hours as one lowly grown up waded back and forth through the otherwise still water. Beads of sweat were starting to form on my pale freckled face, I stared at the water, the same shocking blue as my eyes, anxious and thirsty. The lifeguard's scrawny figure slouched in his chair as I watched him bring the whistle to his lips. The abrupt shriek was followed by Open Swim! And I failed to contain my excitement. I ran and jumped in the water to feel it crashing not only around my waist as I was accustomed but over my shoulders and head. The sun shone through the water, moments later blocked by the lifeguard who stood to dive in after me. Mom was up from her lounge chair with a panicked expression on her face, my water wings lay on the chair next to her, the obnoxious orange screaming How could you forget me?
Another milestone of airheadedness was when I failed to put out the sterno from a buffet pan at my catering job. Though 18 years had passed since I first exhibited forgetfulness, I was still up to the same shenanigans. I later claimed to have tried to extinguish the blue flame while the truth was I forgot. I carelessly dumped it in the enormous garbage can and walked away only to be summoned back moments later when the room was filling with smoke and black bits of ashy trash. I stood there shell-shocked as one of my co-workers hurriedly poured the left over drink bucket on the fire only to see it soar from the drops of assorted alcohols inside. It eventually died down and left a burnt odor that every new arrival inquired about and was told of my err as I stood there quiet and blushing.
Now, at 22, a mother of a 7 month old baby, I thought I was finished with these life threatening catastrophes... not so much. During a skype session a couple weeks ago I allowed Tallulah to bat a glass of water out of my hand and onto Mom's MacBook which hours later had a fried motherboard. You may be thinking That isn't life threatening, but believe you me, she wanted me beheaded. She thankfully found enough compassion to forgive me and kindly request that I pay more attention for the billionth time since I was born.
In between these isolated incidents there have been several accounts of parking lot fender benders, forgotten diapers, sending credit card numbers through email, and even bringing two left shoes to go out dancing causing me to salsa in my Nikes, and through it all I just thought it's who I am, but I am starting to see it doesn't have to be. Of course some may find it charming at first, but as one who is well used to it, it's downright irritating running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to find your retainer only to realize after your mom has emptied the trash into the kitchen sink that it is in your mouth. So here is what I propose, we all have traits that are less than desirable, and we can lay back and pawn the responsibility on habit or genetics or we can consciously make a change. It isn't easy, believe me, but it is worth working at, in my case, not only for my sanity but for the safety of others.