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for February 15, 2005

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On Losing Things...
By TeeCee

There are a thousand varieties of frustration. One of my greatest frustrations is losing things. I'd rather fill a day with a doctor's appointment, two hours in a telephone company voice-mail loop and swimsuit shopping than to lose something.
And I'm not the "I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached" variety, either. My best friend in college was that type. If we planned to go to dinner together I'd usually have to get to her dorm at least an hour early to help out in the "Where's my shoes? Where's my lipstick? Where's my meal card?" hunt. There were also distractions along the lines of "Is that song by White Snake, White Heart or White Lion?" and "I got a love note from this guy, do you know who he is?" variety. I still don't understand how it took over an hour to find those things in room the size of a closet but we often made it to dinner just as the Salisbury steak ran out - thank goodness.
But losing things isn't part of my daily routine. When I lose something it's usually something important or valuable. When I was a kid losing something just meant tracking down my brother or sister and the "something" was usually close by. When I turned 6 I got a $20 bill for my birthday - big stuff back then. Within two hours my sister brought a suspiciously similar $20 bill to my parents and said she wanted to take us all to Wendy's.
And my parents agreed!
Alarmed, I produced the empty nightstand drawer as proof of my claim on the money and was told I had probably "lost" my $20. I attempted to argue by asking how a 4-year-old child in 1975 suddenly obtained a $20 bill on the same day as my birthday and four months after hers, without there being some law broken somewhere and was told I really needed a Frosty to calm down. Watching my Barbie Corvette slip away, in a last gasp I pitched McDonald's instead of Wendy's in the desperate hope that a little change would come my way - and was told since she was the one showing the spirit of generosity, she got to choose the restaurant.
Shockingly, all these years later I do still speak to these people. But I did mark my money for the next 20 years. That helped me hold on to my cash, but also encouraged the thieves to become more creative. So I guess there's a little leftover trauma about losing things that spills into the present day.
Having a home of my own now and being free to exercise my option not to live with juvenile thieves, the art of losing things has taken on a different spin. For example, we recently moved for the second time in six months. Before the first move we had purchased a big case of packing tape from an office supply place, costing approximately the same as it would to sue my sister in small claims court for that $20 - if only the statute of limitations hadn't run up. During that first move we never even opened the tape case. Since we knew there was another move coming, I tried to keep the case handy but at some point the middle of the kitchen floor turned out not to be so handy, so I moved it to a perfectly logical place...I thought.
When the time for packing for the second move came, the tape was nowhere to be found. And the losing things aspect wouldn't be so bad, except that I tend to have phantom sightings. You know how they say to remember where you saw it last? For me, that turns out to be everywhere. In my memory, that case of tape had touched every horizontal surface on every floor of my residence and a few vertical ones.
I knew, of course, that I would only have moved it to a perfectly logical place and really stand amazed to find that it is not in the first 2,000 perfectly logical places I look. Perfectly logical places hold packing tape then start appearing in my dreams, making me get up in the middle of the night to look, only to come up empty again and destined to spend the next three hours staring at the clock. It's usually around this time that I start thinking that if I were a heavier drinker then my mind would come up with fewer perfectly logical places and that would be at least some kind of peace.
A month of searching failed to turn up anything resembling a case of tape, moving day was approaching and at some point packing tape was going to become less of a theoretical logic problem and more of a necessity. I suggested to my husband that the sudden appearance of a few rolls of packing tape with no explanation of how it got here would be a nice resolution and I wouldn't ask too many questions, but alas the tape elves had a busy week at work. I found myself gritting my teeth and buying some more while trying not to put on too much of a "woman in a silent movie tied to the railroad tracks while the train is approaching" performance for the office store clerk.
The tape re-appeared, of course, one week after the move. It was in a box that hadn't been opened since the first move, causing all of those phantom visions of seeing it in all of those perfectly logical places to make me think perhaps I already did start drinking heavier and just don't remember.
So until the next very important and necessary item gets lost and starts making its phantom appearances, I guess I'll spend my time putting rolls of unused packing tape on eBay.
As for my sister, 10 years later she would "lose" a pair of brand new jeans around the same time that I gained a new pair (that fit me a lot better, I might add). Every so often she still asks me if I know what happened to those jeans. Maybe if she produces a $20 some time, I'll tell her.

©2005 TeeCee

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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