This morning, I realized I had lost my keys.
This isn’t the first time.
In a furious combination of panic and extreme annoyance, I tornadoed through the apartment…flipping over pillows and blankets…knocking clutter out of the way…emotional torrent rising quickly with each failed effort. This Aspie is prone to that.
The usual, predictable inner-disciplinarian came to life, in its “outdoor” voice.
How could I be so careless? How could I be so stupid?
I retraced my steps…to no avail.
It doesn’t help that I remember announcing to my partner that I had them with me, in my jacket pocket, as I stepped out of the apartment last night. (Thus, verifying that my keys were indeed with me, and not somewhere in the apartment.)
It doesn’t help that I only visited one “sitting place”, where I spent two and a half hours talking with a friend (yes, on the phone!), as dusk turned to darkness. (And thus, I only had one place to revisit, as opposed to multiple; and that place was fairly close, which means I didn’t have much to retrace.)
It doesn’t help that I shone the backlit face of my mobile phone around the area before walking back to my apartment, scanning to ensure that I had everything with me and that I wasn’t leaving anything behind. (This Aspie has learned several (painful) lessons.)
The keys are gone, no more than 12 hours after I had left them there.
This isn’t the first time this has happened, either. It doesn’t happen often, but, well, even once is (too) often enough.
One might think that I would be used to it by now. But that doesn’t help, either.
Keys aren’t the only items I’ve lost. In grade school, it was textbooks, library books, notebooks, homework assignments…
In med school it was actually (eeek!!) patient files after an extremely long and fatiguing day (they weren’t lost forever, thankfully; I had–of course–left them somewhere and the overnight school security had located them and agreed to keep mum about the oversight, as I would surely have been suspended for the rest of the term had higher administration found out).
In my current life, the losses are typically temporary; except, of course, when I lost my keys the last (and only other) time; my wedding ring was attached to the key ring (I figured I’d never lose it). And as “un-luck” would have it, I never did recover those keys.
Do other Asperger’s/autistic people go through this?
This time, it doesn’t help that I took every precaution I could think of. I had found a different “sitting place” than my usual, and the lighting and shadows were different. As I had scanned the area with my makeshift mobile phone “flashlight”, I had a mild nagging feeling that I wasn’t able to see very well. But for reasons I can’t conjure up, I never did take the extra few moments to step closer for a better look.
My bad. My fault. It always is. I’m always (usually temporarily) losing important objects (my phone has become known as–pardon my French–my “Fucking Phone”; used in a sentence: “where’s my Fucking Phone (this time)?” And it’s always hiding under a folded-over blanket, or between two couch cushions, or under a pillow, or maybe on a counter-top in a room I recently vacated.
Those stigmatizing words from loved ones come roaring back…. “airhead” … “bubble-brain” …
Although those loved ones don’t use those terms anymore, they’re with me just the same. The bloodbath continues, a pool of shame.
In typical Aspie-me form, I try to analyze the situation. Where did my routines and rituals break down? Where did it go wrong?
I don’t have an answer. At least, not a logical one. All I can think of is that my “Don’t Forget Things” “app” has a bug in it; it didn’t execute properly this time.
What I need is a small device that I can attach to my most important items, especially the smaller ones, so that I could hit a button attached to the belt-loop of my jeans that can help me locate those items with sound…
…Except for when I’m wearing pajamas instead of jeans.
…And except for when I’m having a “bad hearing day” when my hearing ability is unexpectedly lower than the previous day.
…Or if the object is too far away to be detected by the button-on-the-belt-loop.
Sometimes it seems like I can’t win.
Miraculously, there is a happy ending to this story; as I was writing this post, my partner came in to say that the keys had been found! I can’t express my relief.
I lucked out this time.
The shame, however, isn’t so forgiving. It lingers.
That inner-disciplinarian doesn’t always quiet back down so easily. It wants to teach me a lesson. It really lets me have it.
It probably will for a while. My brain is going to process it on its own terms, at its own speed.
Shame has a long half-life.