Another gorgeous Pacifica day; clear blue skies, slight breeze, wonderful ocean with mist rising into the air; I love living here. I had my plan: Chinese consulate to renew my visa, stop at Costco for gas and a few items, doctor’s office, then to the mall to conduct a mystery shop for dinner.
I left a little later than planned, so I felt rushed to get to the consulate before they closed. Traffic was heavy, like it was nearing rush hour, but it was only 1:20. I found a parking spot only 2 blocks from the consulate, which was good for the part of the city I was in. It was now ten to two and the sign stated no parking from 11-2. There were many other cars parked, so I thought I’d take my chance, but no need to worry. I got half a block and suddenly I realized I didn’t recall grabbing my passport. I checked my pockets and the contents of the envelope in which I had placed my application. Nothing. All that way, all that traffic, for nothing. Back to the car in shame.
Because of the traffic, I decided to go back a different route, which did seem better. I found a good parking spot at Costco and as I grabbed my wallet to show my membership ID, I realized I DID have my passport. Now I was really kicking myself. How could I have not realized I actually had it on me? Why didn’t I feel it when I searched my pockets? And the whole drive back south I was racking my brain on where I had put it the night before after making the required copies for the application. I just couldn’t remember.
My brain has been on vacation for a while. It was very bad after my illness in November of 2009. It’s been a long, slow process of healing and feeling like I’m on top of things again. A few weeks ago, I nearly missed my first trip back to work after thinking it was on a Sunday, when it was actually on a Saturday. I still don’t know how I did that. Now this.
I felt bad and a bit worried about myself so I called Mom and told her. She laughed, saying she does things like this all the time. I hear that a lot, when explaining odd things I have done in my recovery. But I was never like this. Mom used to always tell me what a great memory I had. I graduated in the top 10% of my class. I’m a smart person. Or I used to be.
I told Mom I was in Costco to get some mouthwash. I also needed to buy ink for my printer, cash my annual cash back check and stop for gas. I walked around as I talked to Mom and got a few food samples. I found the mouthwash and got in line. Before leaving, I thought I’d treat myself to a mocha freeze. I pulled out of the parking lot to head to the doctor’s office, not half a mile away. I still had 20 minutes, so I parked in the garage with a view of San Bruno Mountain and texted a friend of mine, who I knew would enjoy hearing of my time with trying to renew my visa. He did laugh.
As I sat in the waiting room, I realized I had left Costco without getting ink or cashing my check. Now I was really feeling stupid. I was also feeling quite tired and while I waited to see the doctor about my sleep apnea, I wondered if there isn’t something more seriously wrong than just, well, “I do things like that all the time, it’s normal.”
Things checked out OK at the doctor’s. My next stop was the mall. My assignment there was to have dinner at Five Guys to evaluate customer service and timing. I had also received in the mail a week prior a post card from the mall. Turn it in to receive a gold egg and maybe inside will be a $500 prize. Taking a better look at it, I now realized I was in the wrong mall. It was the right mall for the assignment, but the prize was another mall entirely. Not sure how I didn’t realize that, either.
On the way home, with my failed day still going through my head, I thought about how I now am constantly worrying myself. When I leave for errands, when I leave a hotel room after a layover, when I board a plane or walk into the briefing room before a flight, I’m always feeling like I’m forgetting something. I take careful notes on what time I have to be places and what things I need to take. For weeks I’ve been forgetting to buy aspirin. Last week I went to cook meals for the pilots, turning on the oven without placing the meals in them. It caused me to overcook the meals for the passengers. I think now know what it feels like to be 80! And it’s scary as hell. This constant feeling like I’m forgetting something is stressful. What if I forget something important, like arming doors for takeoff?
As I drove down Highway 1 towards home I enjoyed the view of the Pacific Ocean as the sun neared the horizon. The sky was clear and there was now enough mist over the ocean that it rose quite high and created a haze as I looked out to the ocean. The breeze blew this haze on shore to where it nudged into the hills and gave way to the blue sky above. The light on my gas gauge came on. I had forgotten to get gas at Costco. God damn it.