Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

18 Mar 2012, 13:29 p.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

When I leave my flat, I usually check to ensure I have my phone, wallet, and keys. They each have a specific spot in my pockets so I can feel the pockets to make sure they're there. I often say "keyswalletphone" or "phonewalletkeys" under my breath as I check. Do you have a ritual chant like that? Does the ordering make a pleasing rhythm?


18 Mar 2012, 14:03 p.m.

No verbal component, but I do the same thing with the patdown.

18 Mar 2012, 16:42 p.m.

I don't have a verbal formula either, but I do, almost reflexively, check for my keys as I'm leaving the house, or exiting a car. I also sometimes brush my fingers over my pockets, feeling for wallet, MetroCard holder, notebook, and cellphone. When I do so I usually think about Vlad Taltos, Steven Brust's fantasy assassin character, subtly checking that all his hidden weapons are in place as he adjusts his cloak.

Are you familiar with the phrase "spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch"?

18 Mar 2012, 16:49 p.m.

I do exactly the same thing with the patdown, and in fact repeat it while walking around, because it is the only way I can keep from leaving my wallet on random surfaces (as I regularly, and self-infuriatingly, did as a teenager). I don't often use a verbal component, but when I do it's something like "one, two, three, four" for phone, pen, wallet and keys. The numbers don't necessarily correspond to any one object, I just need a count.

19 Mar 2012, 22:10 p.m.

Spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch (sign of cross)

I don't really do that but I do check for keys, fitbit, wallet, phone, handkerchief, chapstick. And my backpack is crammed with other things. Most importantly notebook, laptop, pens, extra hanky, epipen, inhaler.