Yesterday was the Day of Misplacing Everything.
I would go in the sorter room to find a book on a shelving cart and go out on the public floor with the item in hand, and somewhere between the door and the patron, the item disappeared. I backtracked and found the things—except for the time the patron reached out and took it from her table as I stared at my empty hand—but I’m sure I never put them down.
My travel mug was never where I thought it should be, even when I finished its caffeinated contents. Twice.
I never had a pencil when I consciously needed one, even though there were penciled hash-marks on my stats sheet, which implies the existence of at least one. This mystery was solved, sort of, when our page appeared at the desk near the end of the day with a handful of pencils. “These are scattered all over the place,” she said. “Did a little kid grab some or something?” “No clue,” I said, nonchalantly shoving one behind my ear. Two minutes later, a coworker handed it to me. “You dropped this.” I could see how she came to that conclusion, but I knew the truth—it had dropped itself.
My phone also drifted around in this manner all evening. If I was in the bedroom, it was in the living room. If I was in the living room, it magically relocated to the kitchen. If I was in the kitchen, it promptly moved itself behind the breadmaker.
And then there’s the stack of Sunny’s clean underwear, which evaporated somewhere between the clean laundry hamper and her dresser.* You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.
My copy of Peter Ustinov’s autobiography kept relocating to the bathroom, but that was convenient, so I told it to carry on.
But it was obvious to me that something was going on. Either small, localized portals are opening up and things are falling through them; inanimate objects have decided to mess with me more than usual; or my short-term memory is finally coming unmoored.
I’m pretty sure it’s at least two out of three, and since I’m more of a self-aware magical realist than a scientist, we’re going to go with anthropomorphics and that last thing I said, whatever it was.
Since the need to lecture, apologize, and apparently amuse lifeless items is deeply ingrained in my core belief system and ginkgo biloba sound like something that clogs up the filters in your aquarium—for all I know, that’s where it comes from—I need some other method of pinning down the things I need and remembering where—and what—they are if they momentarily leave my direct line of sight**
I know there are little lo-jacking systems for your stuff, along the lines of the keyfob that lets you know where your silver Honda is in a large parking lot full of Silver Hondas by making it beep loudly, thus scaring hell out of the elderly lady innocently walking by, which also helps identify the spot.***
But a system like that depends on being able to put one’s hands on their fob (Oh, hush.) whenever they feel the need (Hush, I said.), and if my keyring wasn’t in desperate love with the lanyard of my work ID, I wouldn’t have a chance of locating either. I’d have to stalk elderly ladies in the parking lot, hoping one would have a Pavlovian reaction to my car from a previous encounter, and people tend to misconstrue behavior like that, or so I’ve heard.
What was I saying? Oh, right.
So as amusing as a beeping remote or coffee mug might be, I’ve decided on a more subtle method:
I’ve decided to plant orange flags on anything I set down, even for a second. I’ll need seven for the average work day and maybe a set of ten or fifteen for home use. And one for the roof of my car, which I hope will keep the AARP from sending me strongly worded letters.
The flags will be collapsible and carried around in a quiver. I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the cones, which are necessary for stability . . . which I assume upon re-reading this post, is also something I should be working on.
I’ll just go put a flag on that.
*You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.
**Hey, blinking is semi-involuntary. Just out of curiosity, how many of you consciously stopped blinking when you read that? Weird, right?
***I think it also locks and unlocks the car doors, but that’s clearly a secondary function.
^Because my purse is a Bag of All Holding, not a Bag of All Finding.