The Gift Of Serendipity

A very interesting happenstance occurred today which not only gave me something to write about but served to highlight the quirks and oddities of everyday life.

Now a little over a year ago I had a stroke, (I’m fine now. Thanks for asking.), and as a result I have a daily pill regiment. A blood pressure pill, a water pill and a baby aspirin. The problem is that since I have gotten older, (how shall I put this), my brain misplaces things. I’m not talking about simple thinks like forgetting where I put my keys or looking for my glasses when they’re sitting on my head. No. We’re talking leave my car and my brain somehow skips the step where I shut the door or, (and this is a doozie), suddenly stopping my car in the middle of the street because my brain just farted and told me I forgot my wallet somewhere. (I didn’t forget my wallet but if my wife had a weapon with her I wouldn’t be writing this blog today).

So you can see that with the onset of dementia it was necessary to come up with some sort of foolproof system to prevent me from overdosing on or failing to take my daily medication. This led to a trip to the dollar store and the purchase of a two-week pill organizer. Actually it is only a one week pill organizer but since I only take mine once a day . . . well you get the idea. So after this short but necessary preamble we come to the reason for this blog.

About a week ago, I believe it was a Saturday, I was sitting in the basement at my computer when I heard this crash and the unmistakable sound of pills scattering across the floor. Going upstairs I noticed the pill container on the floor and pills everywhere. My daughter told me she opened the freezer door and the pill container, obviously sitting partially on said door, fell. I tried to blame her for the mishap but she would have none of that. Having two cats in the house, (this has been covered in a previous blog), we went about quickly trying to recover the pills before the ignorant felines accidentally consumed one of them thinking it to be a treat. Now the brilliance of the idea of the pill container came into play as I knew exactly how many of each pill needed to be found. (Now I must mention that the pill container fell from the top of our fridge which is approximately six feet and that each daily compartment on the container has a snap lid.)

As it turned out we needed to round up five of each. We naturally started our search on the floor where we found a good many. A few more were found in the adjacent dining room under the table. Two were found on the top of the fridge door in the seal. We found them all except two blood pressure pills. Then my daughters eagle eye spied one on the small table in the kitchen. Think about this for a second. The container fell from the top of the fridge to the floor. The lids popped open and one of the pills flew three feet in the air and landed on the table. Now we were forced to expand our concept of where the last pill could possibly have ended up. The counters were in play as was the hallway. We now had to include the thought that a ricochet off the dining room table could have put it in the living room. No joy. We concluded that either it went down the heating duct or we would just have to hope that it now resided in a place that was out of reach of the cats.

Fast forward to yesterday, (Tuesday). I came home from my afternoon shift at 2:30 am and feeling a tad hungry went to the garage freezer to scrounge something to eat. Italian meatballs caught my eye and after removing the desired number for my snack I placed the remaining few in the kitchen freezer. Eat the meatballs, finish my blog post and go to bed. So it’s 2:00 pm and I’m getting ready to go to work and my wife cryptically says, “Come here I want to show you something.” This is not usually a good thing for me so I go cautiously over to the fridge and she opens up the freezer and says, “What do you see?” “Meatballs” says I. “What’s beside the meatballs?” says she. Seeing the ‘I don’t have a clue what she means’ look on my face she gives my a more pointed clue. “Look on the top of the blue container lid.” And there it was. The lost blood pressure pill. The container must have hit the top of the fridge door on the way down and out popped this solitary pill and landed in the freezer.

It was not only, as everything is that we find, in the last place I looked but it was in the last place I could conceive of it being. So this is a good lesson for when we are looking for something and we just can’t find it. Think of the least likely place it could be and start there. This has limits of course. There would have been no sane reason to expect that one of the pills had somehow defied all the laws of physics and ended up in the laundry room downstairs so looking there would just be – stupid. The problem is that we are forced by what we know or think we know to come to conclusions that naturally narrow our focus. The pill container fell on the floor so the pills must be on the floor. A quite natural assumption but an erroneous one.

The same is true in our daily lives. The experiences of our lives tend to narrow our focus and we misjudge. So a frumpy, homely looking woman says she’s going to sing and people just laugh and smirk and then she opens her mouth and people are gobsmacked at what comes out. Susan Boyle. Or the “fat” shy boy that says he wants to sing and people say, “This should be good for a laugh” and he sings with an amazing operatic voice. That bum feeding the pigeons? He has a genius level IQ and has had a paper published.

While there may be many things we miss because our conditioned way of thinking overrides our conscious thought and the idea that the pill could be in the freezer doesn’t even cross our minds, it creates moments of serendipity when we stumble across something we couldn’t see but was there all the time. These are Wow! moments and though they don’t happen all the time they are little gifts to make us smile or laugh or cry. Although I must admit that when I came out of the mall and saw my car door wide open I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. My family did.

If you drop something and can’t find it, think of the place that you “know” it can’t be and start there.