Is there a name for the phenomenon of not being able to see something that is located in plain sight?
For example, looking for my water bottle. Looking. Looking. Looking. Turns out, it’s sitting right on the kitchen table where I first looked. Maybe because I was mesmerized by the mess on the table, or simple lack of attention, or what-have-you, I didn’t see it. This kind of thing happens sometimes.
It has many names.
Old age forgetfullness.
Can’t see the forest for the trees.
Your eyes and brain are playing games with you.
If there a specific name already someone will come along and invent a specific name for the affliction!
We always said the object was “hiding in plain sight” or “right where I put it” or “in the last place I look.” My wife’s family suggests that St. Anthony is testing your faith, and if you ask nicely he’ll help you find it.
Remember to say “please.”
I generally hear it described as “If it [the sought-for object] was a snake, it woulda bit you” [or “me”, if the speaker is the one who was looking for it].
I don’t think “Inattentional Blindness” works, because that seems to describe the phenomenon of objects or events within the field of vision not being noticed because the viewer is deliberately watching something else. What we got here is somebody deliberately visually searching for a particular object, getting that same object in his/her field of vision, but still not successfully perceiving it.
I like “hiding in plain sight” and “can’t see for looking”. But apparently the closest thing to a recognized name for the phenomenon is Podkayne’s “refrigerator blindness”:
I move we agree to adopt this as the standard term, although without the food-specific context or the gender-bias overtones. There you go, Standup, you couldn’t find your water bottle because you were suffering from “refrigerator blindness”.
Easy: “Braille refrigerator blindness”. Borrowed from the colloquial use of “Braille” to describe doing something by tactile perception which is more commonly done by visual perception (e.g., “Braille parallel parking” when you touch the bumper of the car behind you).
(Actually, now I feel a little uneasy that that might seem somewhat disrespectful to the visually impaired, but I’ve never heard it used in a derogatory way, honest.)
I’ve also wandered around the house looking for the glass of wine that’s in my hand. I hesitate to use that as an example, though, seeing as how there’s a well-known “blindness” going on when that happens.