The evils of blur

I left my purse at the Bay food court at around 1:30 this afternoon.
When I realized this at 5:00, I spent few minutes of frantic rushing
about with a pounding pulse, checking asking cleaning personnel and
security desks if a purse was reported found. I made a few calls
cancelling my evening plans, borrowed transit fare from my manager,
and headed home. (It would have been difficult to sing festive
Christmas carols in that state of mind.)

A few years ago, I might have spent the commute home fretting.
Instead, calmed by the realization that there wasn’t anything else
I could do
about it at the moment and that it was just
anyway, I continued reading Denning’s book (“The Leader’s
Guide to Storytelling”, a very good read).

W- greeted me at the door with a big warm hug. I shucked my coat and
proceeded to the kitchen, where I booted up the little computer that
held the encrypted backup of my account numbers. I called TD,
PCFinancial, Fido, and the Toronto Public Library to block my
accounts. I also called the Toronto Police, and a friendly police
officer promptly called me back for the police report.

I’m getting better at dealing with the consequences of these mistakes.
It’s just stuff. Credit and debit cards can be cancelled, phones can
be blocked and replaced, identification can be flagged and reissued,
and cash I can subtract from my play money budget. And I’m still
looking forward to finding the purse at the lost and found counter
tomorrow. Some of my favorite letters were in the purse, but W- will
write me more over the years, and the letters themselves are not
important; the sentiments within them are.

It’s just stuff. While paying more attention will definitely help in
the future, there’s no reason to beat myself up about it—which W-
gently helps me remember whenever I forget this and let out a
frustrated “I suck!”. I’m glad he’s around and that he’s so understanding.

My personal challenge is blur. It’s an evil, evil thing. A
moment’s inattention
is all it takes for me to not see something I’m
looking for, lose a set of keys, or leave a purse. I’m going through
the motions
of doing something, but I’m not fully present, so things
slip through the cracks. I may remember something about the key
moment, but I don’t remember enough of the context in order to easily
find things again, and my memories are disjointed. This feeling sucks.

When does this happen? When I’m thinking about other things, when I’m
running on autopilot, when I’m rushed. Misplacing small things or
detecting small inconsistencies usually serves as a good warning sign
that something’s taking up too much of my thought on the whole. If I
don’t slow down and pay more attention to what I’m doing, it gets

Here’s what I need to do in order to avoid this:

  • Experiment with living slowly and with full presence and intention. A habit of looking back doesn’t help if you look, but don’t *see*…
  • Or at least, pay attention to those niggling feelings and catch myself before I drift.
  • Make sure I replenish my emergency money stash so that I don’t have to rely on luck and friends.

It’s a constant struggle against blur. How do you manage this?

Random Emacs symbol: undo-extra-outer-limit – Variable: If non-nil, an extra level of size that’s ok in an undo item.

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