"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Time Capsules for the Short Term Memory-Challenged

I recently got my very first safety deposit box, and I love it.  I love everything about it.  I love the shape of the key.  I love the official-ness and secrecy of it.  I love the little room I get to go in when I take things out or put things in.  I love the way the lady says, “Take all the time you need.  I’ll be right outside.”  She says it so solemnly that I always feel like I’m in a funeral home instead of a credit union.  Today, wanting to respect the pseudo-solemnity of the situation, I stood inside the room a few moments longer after I was finished, thinking, What a nice quiet little space.  I wonder what they REALLY mean when they say ‘Take as long as you need’.  Could I come here and get some writing done?  When I came back out, the lady said, “Wow, that was fast!” and I wondered what other people do in there.  I mean, how long does it take to put something in a box?

My favorite thing about it though is the element of surprise.

My attention span seems to be getting shorter as I get older and my memory is not what it used to be.  (Proof:  A common occurrence in my marriage involves me asking the hubby to send me a text message reminding me of something.  Four seconds later, I am exclaiming, “Ooo! I got a text!”  I am proud neither of my attention span nor my excitement over getting texts.)  So, even though I am the only person with access to my safe—not even the hubby has a key yet; I should probably remedy that—I get to play practical jokes on myself.

For instance… last month when I went to access my safe for the first time, I couldn’t think of what all to put in it.  I had brought the few important documents that I needed to store, but they looked so small and insignificant inside the 3 x 10 x 22-inch tray that I felt the need to add something else.  Unprepared for such a dilemma, I rummaged around in my purse for items to spice up my collection.  Later, back at home, I looked around for things to store in my secret compartment that were more fun than birth certificates and savings bonds.  I came up with a few. 

So today, when I took my new batch of random possessions to the bank (including, but not limited to: a cd of wedding photos and—in order to help prevent The End of the World as We Know It—a greenroom notebook and a Pentel RSVP pen) I was pleasantly surprised to find the twenty dollar bill, stick of gum, and note to myself that I had left there last time.

Seriously, it’s like a time capsule.  So much fun.

NOT the contents of my safety deposit box.  (But they could be...)
This is actually what had accumulated in the "odds and ends drawer" of my
classroom by the end of my teaching career.  You know... ancient cell phone,
slinky, assorted rubber chickens.  Oh and that coin purse in the middle made
out of an actual frog.  (It was a gift.  Thanks, Dad!)

I love my safety deposit box.  I love the fact that is just high enough to be almost out of my reach and for some reason the attendant never helps me get it down.  I love wondering what the boxes above and below mine contain.  Last will and testament?  Unpublished novel?  Great-great-grandmother’s wedding band?  Skull of a Paleocene rodent?  I love keeping a straight face as I walk into the private room, knowing that I have nothing important in my purse and am wasting this employee’s time putting happy meal toys and pink ballpoint pens in my safe.  For all she knows, I may not have anything in my purse.  Someday, I may just go to sit in that quiet little room and read for a few minutes, or look at my strange little collection and just get away from it all. 

Maybe what that box really contains is a small piece of my sanity.  I’d better not lose the key.

1 comment:

  1. I bet you'd be surprised if you found a "random" post-it note in your SD box. I think a picture of yourself at the time of deposit would be interesting. Keep them there and you can reflect each time.