Many times during my nightly ritual of washing my face and brushing my teeth, I’ll zone out and change the way I think about the passage of time. Instead of dwelling on what I have to do tomorrow or counting the shopping days until Christmas, I start to ponder my life in terms of the products sitting around the bathroom sink.
I’ll look at a new bottle of facial cleanser and wonder what news worthy events will happen during the time it takes to use it up. I’ll look at my tube of toothpaste and wonder if I’ll be rich by the time it’s gone. That bottle of hairspray is about half used up, maybe someone I know will die before it gives it’s last squirt. This mineral makeup seems to last forever, I wonder if I’ll still have it when I retire?
I pass long minutes mindlessly sawing a toothbrush back and forth across my teeth and wondering if the apocalypse will be upon us before I run out of dental floss. For all the time spent doing these meaningless calculations, I’ve never been able to say “Yeah, see there, I knew Grandma wouldn’t make it to the end of my eye liner”, because, despite all my hard work, by the time I walk out of the bathroom, I’ve totally forgotten what I just spent the last 15 minutes thinking about. For that matter, never do I even remember that I’ve contemplated such things until the next time I’m standing there, removing my eye makeup, and I start to wonder if I’ll still be driving the same car by the time I run out of eye shadow.
The only reason I’m able to think about it now is because something unexpected happened, an evolutionary twist of fate. I was debating whether the next Haley’s Comet would appear before I swished my last mouth full of fluoride rinse and I wondered why I only thought about this stuff when I was standing at the bathroom sink. Why don’t I wonder about it the rest of day?, I thought, and it was then that I realized: the rest of day I didn’t even know I had this weird habit because I forgot about it when I wasn’t doing it.
That got me worried about other weird things I might do and then forget about. What if every time I chewed gum, I compulsively stuck it to the inside of car door handles and then forgot all about it the moment I walked away? What if I like to sing The Star Spangled Banner at top volume in the grocery store? Do I give it a second, mortified, thought on the drive home? Nope, forgot all about it by the time my butt hit the driver’s seat.
Oh my, I thought, shit! How will I ever know what I do all day? I still don’t know what happens on my drive to work but this afternoon I caught myself standing in front of the fridge wondering: if I broke my arm right now, would it heal before mold grows on the cheese?