Yesterday morning, I dumped a clothes hamper filled with matched and unmatched socks onto my freshly made bed. It had been a week since I had lost my keys. I had already looked for them multiple times in all the places where they might have gotten lost and was not down to looking any place at all that keys could fit, regardless of whether or not I could imagine a way they could have made it into that hiding place.
I suspected my keys were in my home somewhere because my Aunt, who lives next door, had brought them to me along with a book and pen that I had left at her condo. We had a family gathering and afterwards, she saw my keys and notebook and wondered if they belonged to my brother. She brought them over to me Friday night and asked if they belonged to me. I said yes, thanked her, and placed everything on my coffee table. When I woke up Saturday morning, my keys were missing. I texted my Aunt to ask her if she had seen them. That is when she told me for the first time that she brought them over the night before. I asked her if she was sure she brought keys over, because I only remembered her bringing over my notebook and pen. She said she was, and she gave me more details to her story – where I had left my keys and what they looked like – that led me to believe she had found my keys and brought them to me Friday night. Since I hadn’t gone anywhere from Friday night until Saturday morning, then the keys should still be in my home somewhere. And so every day over the next week I looked for my keys. I texted my son to see if he had accidentally taken them – no luck there. About mid week, I asked my Aunt if I could come check her place again. As I looked with no luck, my Aunt again told me how she had brought them to me Friday night. While I believe that she thought she brought them to me, I also knew I couldn’t verify her story in my own mind. I could neither confirm nor deny that she brought me the keys Friday night. In my mind she both did and didn’t, and I couldn’t say which it was. I was 100% certain she brought me the notepad and pen, but didn’t remember whether the keys being with them and didn’t remember the keys not being with them.
After matching up my socks, I had no more places to look. I started doing my taxes – feeling a need to get at least one thing done. I texted my Aunt and asked to borrow her printer. Secretly though, I wanted to go back over to her place and look for my keys some more. Now that I had looked everywhere in my home, and had ruled out my son accidentally taking them, her home was now the most likely place they could be. Actually, given her insistence that she brought them to me, the most likely place they could be was thrown out with the trash, but I wasn’t at the point of digging through the dumpster yet. I went over and printed out my tax forms. We talked a bit and as I was sitting in the same chair I had been sitting in a week ago, the one I had searched once before a few days earlier, I felt the urge to reach down under the cushion. I had felt up my own chairs so much over the last week, that it was now a natural instinct for me to reach into every crevice of any coach or chair I sat in. Immediately, I found my keys!
My Aunt’s first thought was that I was playing a trick on her – that I had previously found my keys that morning and had planted the keys in the chair. When I denied that, she begin to get a bit distressed. She was 100% certain about her memories and yet her memories seemed inconsistent with a single classical universe. Her and I had discussed universe surfing often, and she understood universe surfing from a theoretical viewpoint, but she couldn’t resolve in her mind how the keys had made it back into her condo and had even been hidden underneath her chair cushion. Now while according to quantum theory, it is theoretically possible that she could have brought the keys over to my condo and then they had quantum tunneled back to her condo, the odds of this are extremely unlikely. So, we pondered classical universes that would explain the sequence of events. The most likely scenario we came up with was that she brought me the keys Friday night and then I came back over Friday night, sat in the chair, and my keys fell out of my pocket. The only problem with that scenario was that neither one of us remembered me coming back over. So either we both forgot, or I didn’t come over.
I wasn’t bothered by the lack of proven classical explanation. According to universe surfing theory, there are multiple ways that the keys could have ended up being found where I found them. In one universe, she only finds my book and pen. In another universe, she finds the keys and places them on the chair with the book and pen, then they keys fall off and she only brings over the notebook and pen. In a third universe, she brings them over and I go back that night and they fall out of my pocket as I sit in her chair. In a fourth universe, I find them at my place and go over and hide them in her chair and pretend that I found them there. There are many others. I don’t view any of these classical universes as existing more strongly than any other. They all have their own probabilities attached to them. My mind will select a sequence of classical events to believe. That is how my mind has been trained. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the classical story that my mind creates is the full story of what happened.