The Upside to Absent-mindedness

For some reason there is a malfunction, some disconnect, between my imaginary hello and, well, my actual hello… Just know this: if you have ever passed me in the hall and I appeared to ignore you, it actually wasn’t like that at all…
– Stuart McLean, The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks –

An imaginary hello. Yes, that describes the greeting I sometimes don’t give.

It’s caused (they say) by a condition called absent-mindedness (also spelled  absentmindedness or absent mindedness.) Often, I don’t even know that I’m being absent-minded. On other occasions, it is quite apparent: I search for my glasses and find them on the top of my head or I walk into a room but forget what I came there to do.

I don’t think it is something to be stressed about. On the whole, my memory usually runs fairly smoothly and  I’m fairly adept at focusing when I need to. I see the shift into absent-mindedness as something that sets me free to think in abstract or creative ways – (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

What was your most interesting absent-minded experience?

18 thoughts on “The Upside to Absent-mindedness

  1. My husband and I were discussing this very topic earlier today. Each of us had experienced brief periods of absent-mindedness throughout the day – going off to do one thing, getting “distracted” by something else, and forgetting where we were going or what we were about to do in the process (and then starting all over again, often with the same disconnected end result). Personally I think its just that we have so much on our minds that intent and follow-through get interrupted. It certainly isn’t because we’re getting older! 🙂


  2. At one time in my life I owned a bookstore in a small lakeside village, fifty minutes from my home. The drive back and forth became such a routine that I stopped paying attention. Five times I ended up in another small town – not on the way home. It’s now an inside joke between my husband and I: when I do something absentminded, he’ll say: “Are you in Arkona again?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sometimes find strange things in the fridge. i.e. if butter is in one hand and salt and pepper in the other, I might absent mindedly put the salt and pepper in the fridge. I just want to get the table cleared and get on with something else.


  4. My mind is so frequently absent, you should call the truancy officer.

    The other day I was searching through my fridge looking for the half an onion I’d put into a tupperware container a few days before. I couldn’t remember using it or anyone else using it but could not find it in the fridge. So I checked the cupboard where I keep the containers to make sure I’d used it. The container was there in the cupboard. With the half an onion in it. Sigh.

    I’ve also poured orange juice on my cereal and milk in the teapot.


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