I wish I could remember the sequence of events that got me in so much trouble one recent Spring evening as I busied myself changing clocks for the Daylight Savings Time switch. I clearly recall repeating over and over to myself “Spring Forward, Fall Back,” even as I carefully turned every set of hands or electronic numerals back one hour on every clock I own. We all know how many timepieces that can be in this electronic age. Little green faces blink and wink at us in every room. As I dutifully turned every one of those clocks from 9:00 p.m. back to 8:00 p.m., I smugly recited my mantra; “Spring Forward…..”
It was Sunday morning before I realized how badly I’d goofed, and I can only say it was fortunate that I didn’t have a job to get to, or a plane to catch.
There’s a name for people like me who think one thing and do another. We’re afflicted with DETAILS-UN-HINGED Syndrome, better known by its acronym D.U.H. We’re also prone to saying one thing and doing the opposite. We turn left when everyone else turns right, and we always, always forget names. We may have an I.Q. to rival Marilyn vos Savant and the know-how to translate the Abyssinian alphabet into High German, but when it gets down to nitty-gritty time we’re all candidates for D.U.H. There seems to be no cure, we’re doomed to spend our lives apologizing and explaining.
Now don’t try to deny it, those of you who are even now putting your car keys in the refrigerator. You know who you are, we’re all in this together. D.U.H. can strike anyone at any time, although advancing age seems to make it worse. Male or female, country of origin, urban or rural background, income level, there’s almost no hope.
I seem to be especially bad with timepieces. I spent weeks this winter staring at my new Timex, wishing the date would change at midnight instead of noon. I even read the directions as a last resort. I hardly knew whether it was yesterday or tomorrow until some kindly soul suggested I advance the dial 12 hours. Now why hadn’t I thought of that? D.U.H., of course.
I’m especially vulnerable when it comes to elevator buttons and seat belt locks, A ride on an elevator with me, especially anywhere above Floor 2, is a real adventure as I push buttons with the abandon of a 3 year old. I’m particularly adept at pushing OPEN for CLOSE, or vice versa. Symbols only make it worse. D.U.H. again.
I’ve always maintained that inanimate objects of all sorts are out to get me, seat belt locks being especially mean and nasty. In the event of a real need I already know I’ll be a goner. Why couldn’t all seat belt locks have a universal fastener in case we’re in a taxi or some other vehicle we’re not used to? I refuse to bear all the responsibility for this by myself.
Ever stand in front of a rack of grocery items at the supermarket, reading all the info on a certain package, only to reach up and select the package right next to it, the one which contains a totally different product? Yep, me too. One of the most infuriating examples of the Details-Un-Hinged Syndrome.
And it’s not just me, I remember a time when everyone except the hostess laughed uproariously when a fellow D.U.H. sufferer showed up two hours early for our usual Bloody Mary get-together prior to a Sunday brunch.
I know a bright young female engineer who sat in a heavily mirrored restaurant one evening, wondering seriously why all the EXIT signs read backwards as if in code, TIX3. And even my salty old sea-dog sailor of a husband actually confused port and starboard in his later years.
I tell you, no one is exempt. If your life has been blighted by the D.U.H. Syndrome, stories about you are already making the rounds. Details-Un-Hinged welcomes you to our group. While we have no advice for you or your condition, we do offer our heart-felt sympathy as we busily stir cat food into the tuna casserole for tonight’s dinner. (That’s OUR dinner, not the cat’s.)