Places I Used to Inhabit

It is strange to be suddenly confronted with your own unconscious and habitual movements and behaviors. This happens when there is some major change in your accustomed physical environment. For instance, it has almost been three weeks since quitting smoking, yet when I’m writing and get temporarily stuck searching for the right formulation of words or thoughts, my body just stands up all on its own and walks out onto the screen porch.

Now when this happens, there is no ashtray out there. No matches. Nothing to light. So I stand there for a few seconds in a state of confusion wondering: why am I here?

And then there is the kitchen.

For the past two decades, my day began like this: I walked into the kitchen and took a sharp right. All in one place were the things I needed. The coffeemaker, the filters, the coffee, the water, and the compost bin (for yesterday’s grounds). The next ten movements I made were all so habitual that no conscious thought was necessary. And because I keep my thyroid medication on top of the coffee tin, I never forget to take it.

This morning I woke up, went down to the kitchen and took a right. I found myself standing back-to-back with a refrigerator, staring at a blank wall where my coffeemaker used to be, wondering: why am I here?

All that because . . . this is my kitchen now:

And this is my kitchen now:

And this, too,  is my kitchen now:

I forgot to take my thyroid medication for the first time in years this morning. This afternoon, I needed scissors. I walked into the kitchen and headed toward the empty wall where the scissors used to hang. Later I needed a plastic bag. I headed toward a drawer in front of the kitchen window. The frig was in my way. And of course that drawer is no longer there anyway – it is now in the bathroom. It is only a matter of time before I walk into the kitchen and simply drop my empty coffee cup, letting it smash on the floor right below where the sink used to be.

It is going to be like this for about three more weeks.

Once the new kitchen is here, I will have to learn a whole slew of new habitual movements. I have no idea yet where the coffeemaker is going to go in the new arrangement, but I am going to put A LOT of thought into it. Because this kitchen is probably going to be my last one. However it is arranged is going to determine where I go and what I do in the first five minutes of every day from now until . . . my institutionalization.

That is, assuming my institutionalization doesn’t happen sometime in the next three weeks.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Places I Used to Inhabit

  1. poor you. I can sympathize. Habit and custom rule! Once one disturbs that fine balance, the entire life tilts somehow off track. Best to hide out either in front of the computer or under sheets as much as possible. The kitchen chaos will be over soon…. with the porch, ther will new uses coming up, I’m sure

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  2. poor you. I can sympathize. Habit and custom rule! Once one disturbs that fine balance, the entire life tilts somehow off track. Best to hide out either in front of the computer or under sheets as much as possible. The kitchen chaos will be over soon…. with the porch, new purposes will come up, I’m sure

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  3. Those pathways in the brain are impossible to erase. I rearranged my garage two years ago and still find myself looking for stuff in the place it used to be. Even once the new pathways are formed, the brain occasionally slips into the old ones out of habit. I hope you’ve got a spare coffee mug for when the inevitable CRASH happens. And it’s someplace where you can find it. 🙂

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