I don't know if it is Murphy's Law or some other universal law, but I, for one, prove it every single day! How is it that I can have something in my hand one second, and in another second, it is gone?! How is it that I can put something down, and when I reach for it a second later, it is gone?!
I spend more time twirling around in my sewing area trying to find something that I just had than I do actually sewing. And these are not small, highly inconspicuous items. They are pieces of fabric, rulers, and patterns. Yes, they are also pins, seam rippers, scissors, and rotary cutters, too. To be real, nothing is exempt from suddenly disappearing.
Sometimes the lost object will be found fairly quickly. Other times, only after giving up and moving onto the next item that disappeared will the original item reveal itself. And sometimes, it is simply gone forever.
So what is going on? The clinical explanation is that there is a breakdown at the interface of attention and memory. Well, yeah! My attention is tied to my task, not necessarily to what my limbs are doing. But I just had it! I was holding it a millisecond ago! I was using my seam ripper one second, set it down, sewed something, and reached to grab the seam ripper again, only to discover that it's not there. Looking around, lifting things, surveying the floor, it is still gone. How does it go from where I put it to a totally new location all on its own! This is way more than a disconnect between my attention and memory.
It is called Disappearing Object Phenomena (DOP). Of all the explanations for DOP, I like the Temporary Invisibility explanation best. An article titled "Disappearing Object Phenomena: When items disappear and reappear" by liveaboutdotcom explains: "There is no scientific hypothesis that allows for an object to become invisible and then after a time becomes visible again. Yet that is exactly the effect as perceived by some DOP experiencers. And if this temporary invisibility is somehow possible, it raises many questions: How or for what reason does a specific object become invisible? Does the effect have something to do with the person's regular or intimate use of the object? Is it a physical effect produced by some unknown mechanics of the human mind?
"Sometimes this "invisibility" can be a strictly psychological phenomenon. The object is really there, but our attention is so diverted that we literally don't see it. It's an example of selective attention." Makes perfect sense.
Another great explanation, according to the same article, is a dimensional shift. The object jumps from one dimension to the other and back again. Perhaps my parallel universe self needed the object more than me at that particular moment and returned it later. I hope that my parallel universe self is completing more projects than I am because I'm spending needless time looking for items I literally had a second ago!
So where do we go from here? Well, let's just embrace it. It happens--to all of us. I'm sure that we all have a great tale to tell about your best DOP experience. Tell us your story in the comments. Laughter, after all, is the best way to combat this universal phenomena.