WHY THE PAT DOWN?
Before I leave my home, I perform a pat down. Is it an OCD thing? Kinda, mostly it is just because I am an idiot.
When I commuted to work by train, I needed five things before I left the house; a handkerchief, my wallet, my cell phone (beeper in earlier years), my train ticket and my work ID. I regularly forgot at least one of these items and it would cost me money or time and was a pain in the ass.
I soon got into the habit of the pat down.
Without consciously thinking about what I was doing, I would pat my back left pocket (wallet), my back right pocket (handkerchief), my left front pocket (cell phone), my shirt pocket (work ID), and my inside coat pocket (train ticket). If any pocket was empty I stopped and realized I had left something behind and retrieved it before it was too late. The pat down method was almost fool proof, but I did look a little silly. I didn’t do the pat down just once, it was a ritual performed periodically all day.
I also have a car thing. On two occasions I have locked my car with the keys still in the ignition (the old VW bug and my Jeep Wrangler doesn't have those remote lock things on the key.) Realizing you have left the keys in the ignition while you are in the process of slamming the door shut is a sinking feeling. Your mind is screaming "NOOOO!" while your body is unable to halt the momentum of the slamming car door.
Because of these car incidents, I never close the door without pausing for several seconds. I don’t even realize why the pause and then I remember the car keys. I double check usually by patting my pocket for the keys and then I slam the door.
It might look weird, but the only way for me to remember what I forgot, is to remember to check for what I forgot before I forget it.
That is why the pat down.