Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lost Planet.

Consort can tell you, I’m a bear when I lose something. Clarification: I am a bitchy, nervous bear when I lose something, which makes very little sense, because I lose things all the time, and shouldn’t I be used to it by now? But I’m not, nor am I inclined to “…see the humor in this” or respond well to “It’s got to be here somewhere, did you check your purse?”

Statements like that just make me want to open up someone’s head with my big bear paw.

So you know I was Miss Congeniality when, a few nights ago, I determined I had lost one of the critical files from my desk. A quick tearing-apart of the office didn’t turn up the file. An extremely uninteresting philippic of mine about how “People with organized offices don’t have problems like this” followed, which led to a forced-march of an office-cleaning by Consort and me.

An hour later, having found nothing but several dozen manila file-folders which mocked me by being the wrong one, I tore the entire house apart. Daughter, wisely, hid in her room until I came flying in, insisting we had check her toy chest and her dress-up box. The entire evening was spent pursuing the folder, for naught. It was still missing. I was a veritable Crock-Pot of annoyance, cooking on a low heat which could go on for days. I had seen the file within the previous 48 hours; I didn’t take it out of the house, WHERE WAS THAT STUPID FILE? I even dreamt about it that night, dancing just beyond my reach, laughing a gleeful, tinkling office-supply laugh.

The next day, I went to find a separate file in the office, only to find it was missing. Having just seen what I’m like when something goes AWOL, I’m guessing you readers are thinking something like “Oh, no…”, which would be normal concern were I the sort of person who behaves consistently. Luckily for those people who live with me and had already cleaned every available space the night before, I got very calm, and actually quite cheerful. When one thing of mine can’t be found, it’s missing. When two similar objects of mine can’t be found, they are somewhere together, and the odds are that I know something about it, if only I could remember it. I now knew I had created some cunning filing system for the file-folders I used every day, but hadn’t bothered to actually remember what the system was.

I worked backwards; at some point within the previous week, I had decided the files sitting on my desk weren’t efficient, or visually appealing, or were attracting spiders, so I put them…away. Somewhere. I had no recollection of doing any part of this, but it sounded like something I would do. I am my own assistant, and I would fire myself in a minute, if only it wouldn’t make family get-togethers so awkward.

I now had twice as many files unaccounted for as I had the night before, and yet I was half as stressed. I knew that someday I would open a box of winter sweaters and under a layer of mothballs and above a layer of reindeer sweaters, I would find a file with Daughter’s summer-camp information in it and underneath that a file with the words “DO THESE THINGS NO LATER THAN 8/4!!!” scrawled across the front in red ink.

Objects disappearing and reappearing in groups isn’t always a source of consolation to me, however. It’s possible we have a poltergeist, and this theoretical poltergeist thinks the best way to while away an eternal life is by playing the same practical joke over and over again. If the poltergeist is Lucy, endlessly offering to hold the football, I am Charlie Brown, dubious at first but ultimately willing to believe this time will be different, and somehow always ending up on my metaphorical ass.

Let me set the scene: I was writing, which means I was sitting at the computer, sternly reminding myself that checking the gossip websites isn’t writing by any definition. Having shut down, I prepared to work, only to decide that the reason I couldn’t write is that I was hungry. Yes, that was it! I had to eat!

[My “Writing pants” now come in three sizes.]

I went to the fridge to eat a teaspoon of peanut butter. Upon opening said fridge, I saw no peanut butter. I took the entire contents of the fridge out, taking this moment to jettison some cottage cheese with braidable hair, but still I found no peanut butter. This was odd, because I remembered seeing peanut butter before, and no other member of my family were home save the cat. But if she were suddenly given thumbs and the upper-body strength needed to open a refrigerator, she wouldn’t waste this wondrous new skill on ground legumes.

I repacked the fridge, went to our cabinet, and wiggled out a jar of peanut butter, which was wedged between a tin of anchovies and a jar of hearts of palm, and was wearing a hat of a jumbo jar of pimentos. Stopping briefly to note I didn’t remember ever buying pimentos, hearts of palm or anchovies, I opened the jar of peanut butter and ate a spoonful. Closing the jar, I opened the fridge.

There, on the top shelf, impossible to miss, were four jars of peanut butter, lined up like Rockettes. A quick inspection confirmed each one had a tablespoon of peanut butter scraped off the top. Somewhere in the house, the poltergeist laughed, and was joined by the two manila files, paired by me to reside in a place of my own devising until such time as I remember where in the hell that is. One of the nearly-full peanut butter jars whispered “Hi, Quinn. Seen your keys lately?”

Backing slowly out of the room, I raced for the office, and shut and locked the door behind me.


Blogger houseband00 said...

Lovely, lovely post as usual, Quinn! =)

I also get a lot of moments like these. I blame demorol. =)

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for another great post! I always learn something from you, whether it's where to stash buttons fallen off of a dress, or a new word like "philippic."

Who knew? :-)

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it make you happy to know that the older you get, the more
things you lose, and the longer
it takes to find them????

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I had a dime for every time I said "if I was ORGANIZED maybe I could find what I'm looking for now and then" I would be a wealthy woman. Being disorganized is a constant for me. I don't think I'd be "me" without it. You are not alone.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I'm....I think perhaps you are my long lost sister. However, it is cans of comet I have lined up but can't ever find, plus assorted files that turn up right where I looked 8 billion times just after I desperately needed them to save my ass.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the files are in the freezer? Or maybe they're in my cupboard, with the three jars of mayo...

6:29 AM  
Blogger badrhinogillett said...

Your poltergeist has a cousin up in Northern California. Four years ago, I had tickets to a concert arrive in the mail. Not wanting to lose them, I put them in the nightstand drawer that I NEVER open. The night before the concert, when I went to get the tickets, they were GONE. I still haven't found them. (oh, I guess that part doesn't make you feel better, huh?)

7:36 AM  
Blogger Dodi said...


I have the same problem with stuff in my pantry. It has happened so often that even the neighbors refer to it as "the pantry of doom", since they have been witness to my looking for something, closing the door, and opening it again to find the very thing that was missing moments ago right in the front.

(Oh, and the fact that 7 out of 10 times you open the door something flies off the shelf and hits your head or your foot. A Pantry Poltergeist? I smell a screenplay!)

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. Two things....

1.) Have you checked the freezer for your files?

2.) There is a connection here between your post about how you get when you haven't eaten and the peanut butter. Could you have been hungry when you hid the files from yourself? Have you checked behind the hearts of palm?

5:10 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

We just moved, less than a week ago.

I cannot find ANYTHING.

Except, a visiting neice spent the night and watched a show on making hummingbird feeders that required test tubes. She commented to me that it sounded like a good idea, if only she knew where to find some test tubes.

Need one ask? I knew EXACTLY where MY test tubes were. In my night stand.

Why? I have NO IDEA.

But really, I cannot find ANYTHING. Except test tubes.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a home in Manhattan and also in upstate NY a short 200 mile jaunt away. Recently I needed my Social Security card and I knew it was in my NYC apartment in a little black box in the armoire. Lo and behold no black box. Not to worry it must have gone upstate during a cleaning binge I'll get it there over the weekend. Needless to say it wasn't there either. Let the panic floodgates open. I envisioned ID theft caused by the burglary surely done by a returning past roommate that left in a huff 3 years ago. I must have not noticed the other missing items yet. Like you I rewound several months trying to retrace my own steps. After a manic (yet routine) apartment tear apart the box with the SS card was found stowed elsewhere in my apartment and it also uncovered a past online shopping binge to I forgot about which was a mercy because I thought I was out of shaving cream.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked up "Philippic" and it is indeed a neat, useful word...BUT, that "website" of yours, you know "" ... well, perhaps I should've known better...but...I...TRUSTED I have to wipe this egg off my face. Hur-rumph!

4:52 PM  
Blogger Flowerdew Onehundred said...

Wow, I do the same thing. I *hate* losing stuff. HATE IT. I have an added complication: DH loses things all the time and has no skill for finding them.

In addition to trying to remember my own dumb storage ideas, I have to try to puzzle out where he might have mislaid something.

Usually, after spending hours tearing the house apart, I will give up and, while doing something else, I remember where it is. Do I learn to just relax next time?

No, of course not.

Missing object requires tearing the house apart.

4:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home