I mentioned before that I once accidentally took my garbage to work with me. Conversely, I once threw away a brand-new shirt, plus the receipt, as I was heading out the door on the way to the store to return it (there’s a Seinfeld reference here, but then isn’t there always?). That is not the strangest part of the story. I then continued on my way to the store, for several blocks, until I reached Delancey Street, at which point I suddenly stopped, looked down at my empty hands and wondered why I was outside, where I was headed, and what my purpose was. That is not the strangest part of the story. The strangest part of the story is that having looked down at my empty hands, assessed the situation and understood that I was outside but didn’t know why, I turned around, went back home and didn’t give the matter another thought.
About a week later, a memory popped into my head of an Ann Taylor Loft bag containing a shirt, price tag $25, and its receipt. Ohhhh, I thought, so that’s where I was going. The interesting thing about this to me, neurologically speaking, is that the act of throwing away the bag containing the shirt and receipt erased the concomitant knowledge of the destination, but did not erase the physiological aspect of the task, therefore keeping my feet on the path to accomplishing the original goal, until the nerve endings in my bagless fingers sent a message up that something had gone awry and the mission could not be completed.
Now when I leave my apartment with a non-garbage-containing bag in my hand, I have to make a point of saying to myself, “This bag must not be thrown away.” I am beginning to suspect that I might actually be a robot, and a poorly programmed one at that.