Friday, 2 April 2010

Up in smoke

On March 28th (or thereabouts) something must have gone haywire somewhere - wherever the "normality" of our days is fashioned and tailored.

I remember that day because something odd happened to me that afternoon.
As a matter of fact, it was just a reprise of a situation - a seemingly blatant anomaly, to put it mildly - already described in one of the earlier posts.
(And you can amuse yourself to death trying to guess which one it was, because I am not going to tell. :))

Furthermore, I overheard a couple of people in a shop nearby talking about "weirdness".
No Marian apparitions, no gnomes hopping around, not even a UFO sighting, nothing like that - just things not being quite "right" and people being unusually "forgetful". (That was the explanation I overheard.)

And then, a few hours ago, I received an interesting message from a person, regarding that same date.
(I did not enquire after that specific date, and only told her about my own experience after she had volunteered the following story.)

I asked her if I could publish this here, and she agreed, provided I do not mention her by name.
So, here is the translation of the message - well, most of it.

(By the way, the following event, whatever it was, took place on the shores of Lake Lugano, not far from the Italian-Swiss border, in case anyone is keeping track.)


That evening I was working late, as usually. I was reviewing a project that was due the next afternoon.
Around 22:00 I grabbed a cigarette from the pack that was lying on the little coffee table next to my desk (where I always keep my cigarettes). The pack was half full (or half empty, ha! :)) because I had bought it that same day. I didn't count the cigarettes, but the pack was definitely well stocked enough to last me through the night and well into the afternoon.

Maybe half an hour later I took two antihistamine pills (100 mg in total), as I do every day, and went on with my work.

Shortly before midnight, maybe a quarter to 24:00, I reached for another cigarette.
The pack was not on the table.
It did strike me as odd, somewhat, because I naturally thought it had fallen off the table or something, but didn't remember hearing the thump that I should have heard when it hit the floor. (It doesn't matter how engrossed I am my work, I do always remain alert.)

So I looked around and then under the coffee table to retrieve the pack. But the cigarettes were not there.
I was somewhat alarmed because it meant that evidently I had placed it somewhere else, and it's so uncharacteristic of me, and I was worried my work would reflect this unusual absence of mind. But my work had been going smoothly and I could not notice any decline in quality in the text.

I got up and searched for the pack. At this point I was circling around that table like a buzzard!
OK, so the pack wasn't anywhere near the table. I could not imagine where could it be, so I just looked around my studio (which is quite small and minimalistically furnished). I could not find it.

At this point I was really upset, but not so much because of the nicotine deprivation or whatever. I just could not understand where could it be.
So I tried the old fashioned method: retrace your steps.
And then... and then the really weird thing happened. I discovered that I could not, for the life of me, remember what I had been doing for the past twenty minutes or so.

This was so odd I just could not go on with my work. I tried hard to remember but all I could recall were vague, disjointed fragments of me working and watching the TV at some point (which is strange because I was much too busy working).

But the strangest thing of all, and I am not sure I can really describe it well, was the fact that up until the moment when I reached for that second cigarette and did not find the pack I didn't feel anything being out of the ordinary. I was simply working, nothing special, no concentration problems, nothing.

Anyway, I ended up tearing the house apart to find the pack. I looked EVERYWHERE, even in the bathroom (where I never smoke) - even in the fridge!
There are maybe four or five pieces of furniture in that studio, and I searched it as thoroughly as humanly possible. I even searched the rubbish bin, and also the pockets of garments that I hadn't worn in months.
But I never found the pack.

I am writing this four days later because I still haven't found it.

And I still can't shake the feeling that there is a gap in my memory of that evening, like an impenetrable thick haze (or fragments of a broken mirror, oddly enough - that's what it reminds me of), and that I cannot access whatever happened during it, no matter how hard I try.

Now, I know that antihistamines can cause short term memory problems. But you see, I have been taking these pills forever and never had anything like this happen to me.
And I know I did not - I could not - unknowingly smoke all the cigarettes!
They would have turned up in my ashtray, wouldn't they? (And I only have one.)
And I would have found the empty box, anyway.

I also know I did not go out because the alarm was still on (I have to switch it off before going out), and nobody had come to my door inquiring, as they would have if the alarm had gone off (even if I somehow had become temporarily deaf or just oblivious to it).

By the way, the work turned out quite well. Certainly nothing abnormal there, or the people paying for it would have said something.

You know, I think this weirdness is contagious.
I think I'll stop frequenting this blog! ;-)


I know this particular buzzard well enough to attest that she is not a liar, or a mentally deranged person, or a drug abuser, or an alcoholic - or indeed an ignorant wretch with a tenuous grasp of the basic laws of physics as we know them. And her pranks (which she does love to pull) are of a different kind altogether. Her word is as good as gold.

As a matter of fact, I had something vaguely similar happen to me at least once.
(And certainly more than once, if you count my personal "black hole".)

I cannot know what happened here, and wouldn't dream of trying to explain it, even though I am confident it's all just a matter of perfectly natural para-physics, rather than a personal psychological/awareness issue. In other words, the laws of physics "as we know them" might be problematic because we don't really know all that much about the wider context in which they seem to function - and, occasionally, malfunction.

P.S. This story is not an April Fool's joke.
I know because I checked. :-)

If you want to report a perceived dimensional anomaly, please do, but read this first.


Renata said...

wow, pretty weird! Was the pack ever found??? :O

Myosotis said...

Hello! Thanks for stopping by.

No, I don't think it was.
It certainly hasn't been found almost a year later when I asked her.

I'll let you know if it ever is found. :-)

Myosotis said...

Oh, and by the way, if any of you folks out there see a stray bag of Barilla Quattro formaggi tortellini somewhere - or a Maybelline mascara, green case, brand new - do let me know.
I am STILL missing them. :-)

In case, you haven't read about it:

Renata said...

wow, I should say I spent 7 hours reading your blog last night! I read each and every post haha, fascinating stuff! :)

Myosotis said...


Let's just hope you don't slip into a parallel world where you haven't read them and you have to read them all over again. :-))

Thank you, Renata. I hope you enjoyed it.
We LOVE readers like you.