Why have you left this on the table, she asked her husband for the second time. It was an envelope addressed to him with his full title on it. Does it need my attention? You know if it needs my attention I have a special place on my desk where I like you to leave things. If you leave things in the wrong place, I get confused and distracted and that disturbs my projects. I am then likely to forget shopping items, or that I needed to go to the post office, or write a letter to my sister who still refuses to use email, or even that I meant to write a note to you, for example that you need to fetch your shoes from the cobbler or your dry-cleaning, or even to remind you to phone your brother today as it is and you always phone your brother mornings or I might forget I wanted to write a note to myself as I forget things too now, as often as you do; and often I write notes on the back of envelopes, whether they are addressed to you or to me.
If you leave items in the wrong place I am likely to put them away hastily, push them into a drawer, any drawer that I do not open often, because I will think they are not important, or even relevant to our life today, as we grow older and need fewer things. I am likely to put them into the drawer, ‘open after my death’ or the one labelled ‘open after his death’ or ‘destroy after my’ or ‘his death.’
Especially if you leave an envelope addressed to you lying in the wrong place with the address side either down or up, I am likely to at least look at the address, and that means turning it over if the address side faces downwards, in case it was me who by mistake left the envelope in the wrong place, and then the contents may spill out and although I never look at post addressed to you, I may inadvertently see something you did not mean me to see.