Can’t See For Looking

Have you heard that old-fashioned saying before?

My Dad used to use it both as a motivator and as a reminder, and I heard it a lot when I’d work side by side with him as his tool runner.

He’d be building or fixing something, tearing something apart, or climbing something and he’d realize he needed a particular tool but didn’t have it with him, and that’s where I came in.

He’d describe what he needed – I eventually did learn the names of everything –  he’d tell me where he thought it was, and then he’d wait somewhat patiently while I tore off to the shed or to the garage or onto one of his trucks to retrieve it.  The plan was that I’d quickly retrieve it and run it back to him.

Plan notwithstanding, here’s how it usually went.

Invariably, I’d listen intently, then invariably, I’d run to where he told me to go to find it, then invariably, I couldn’t find it then, invariably, I’d run back to him, telling him it wasn’t there.




Then he’d have the Italian version of a bat-shit-crazy fit, then he’d take me to the very place I’d just two or three times gone to on my own, and right the fuck there it would be.

Then he’d say “you can’t see for looking.”

He’s been dead since 1993 and I still can’t see for looking.

Can't see for looking.
Can’t see for looking.

On Saturday morning, I woke up on fire, in a very very good way. It felt like the whole world was brand new and all mine.  I made my usual 6 shots of espresso, dumped them over ice and launched my day.

I had planned some super challenging creative work for myself and whenever I do that, I like to perform this silly little ritual that helps me feel like I’ve got a clean slate, a fresh start, nothing held over – I power down all my computers the night before, giving them – and symbolically me – a clean break by letting my little vintage single wide junkyard jewelbox unwind until we’re completely, electronically detached, until we reach complete pixel tranquility, until we come to a full stop.  I love when we do that.

So my first task on Saturday morning was to fire everything back up and when I did, for some reason, on launch, my fastest, main Mac didn’t recognize my trackpad.

Never fear, I restarted.  But still no trackpad.

I troubleshot my bluetooth settings and was able to successfully recognize the track pad, just not complete the connection to it.

I tested and replaced the batteries in the trackpad.

And then I restarted the computer again.

And then I changed my approach.

I have a trackball – remember those? – that I keep for just these types of situations and, praise the Gods, I’d used the trackball just last week, mere days ago.  All I had to do to begin was find the trackball.


Find the trackball.

Find the trackball.


But I couldn’t find the trackball.

I couldn’t find the trackball in any of the logical places where I keep things like that – tech and gadget storage boxes –  so I performed a military style “hard target search” (which is also a sort of the same house cleaning strategy used by the big national house cleaning/maid services) where I started up high at one end of the office and worked my way around, then moved down a swath and circled back around.

Over and over and over again until I was on the fucking floor like an infant just figuring out how to crawl, kneeling and reaching in and behind everything and I was down there so long, and on CONCRETE, that I aggravated my patellar tendonitis – thank you, fireworks behind my knee cap – and about 90 minutes in, I just gave up, sat at my desk, went through the start up process one more time, and when the computer launched perfectly – as it always does – I went through the bluetooth discovery process one more time, and this time I held down the “find me, you motherfucker” button on the trackpad extra hard and extra long, and this time, you motherfucker, it worked.

I didn’t need the trackball after all.

My day was still perfect, I roared through all manner of creative endeavor and I was super super happy even though I still had no idea where my trackball was.


Today, sitting at the very same desk, working in the very same set up, I look at my keyboard for what must be the bazillionth time, and what do I see?

The trackball.

Where is it?

Right in front of me.

Why couldn’t I find it Saturday?

Because I can’t see for looking.


PS I miss my Dad.


Can’t See For Looking