Absolute elsewhere

Way back when the Earth was young and Merlin Mann regularly updated 43 folders, he wrote this:

As the administrative grunt for a Netflix household, I’m responsible for hoofing it down to the big blue mailbox every couple days. To make sure I don’t forget anything on my epic, two-block trek to 23rd Avenue, I hang all our outgoing mail on a large binder clip on the front door. When I somehow have managed to miss that subtle clue, I hang the mail off the actual dead bolt; I literally can’t leave the house without being reminded that Napoleon Dynamite needs to go home now. (“Dang!”)

Merlin’s actually written several posts on the weird and often blunt ways we have to remind ourselves of what needs doing, but it was the imagery of this example, with the mail clipped together and hanging on the door, that came to mind as I went on a similar reminder odyssey.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a prescription for Simvastatin: one pill per day. When I started the prescription, I decided the best time to take the pill was in the morning, so I kept the bottle on the bathroom counter next to my sink, where I couldn’t help but see it every morning.

This worked pretty well. I almost always took the pill. But quite often I’d find myself at my sink before going to bed, brushing my teeth and looking at the bottle of pills. Did I take one this morning? I think I remember taking one, but maybe that was yesterday.

Usually, the problem was not remembering to take the pill—it was remembering whether I had remembered to take the pill.

So I printed up a set of little monthly calendars using pcal1 and taped the current month to the mirror behind my sink. The plan was to cross out the day when I took the pill. That way, I’d know that I had remembered.

This worked really well…except when I forgot to mark the calender. On those days, the problem was remembering to make the reminder that would help me remember that I had remembered to take my pill.

My solution has been to use one particular pen to mark the calendar and to keep that pen on top of the pill bottle. I can’t open the pill bottle without picking up the pen, and picking up the pen is the perfect reminder to mark the calendar. So far, this has worked.

But is this the ultimate solution? I wouldn’t count on it.