Everybody loses things, right? I mean, I bet even Diogenes, living with just about nothing, occasionally would misplace/lose something he really needed.
I still remember the first thing I lost that I really cared about. My first wristwatch. I'd begged my parents for one (I was 9 or 10), and for my birthday they got me a little Timex with a grey strap . A wristwatch was a sign of maturity, so I thought. (I always thought it weird, though, that my grandfather Osborn wore his with the face of the watch on the inside of his wrist. All you saw when you looked at the outside of his his wrist was the gold Speidel band.)
Anyway--new wristwatch. Excited little boy. Showing his friends (some of whom had not yet merited a wristwatch). Losing it about a week later.
I panicked. Tore my room apart, rechecked everywhere I'd been (not too many places, not at that age). Couldn't find it. Wept profusely. Then ... one day when my parents weren't home, I had a dark thought: Do they have it? I checked my mother's jewel box. Found my watch. They must have discovered it lying around somewhere and put it aside for a time when I was more mature--that would have required a long, long wait. I put the watch back on.
And soon lost it again. This time, it was not in my mother's jewelry box. And it was quite a while before I dared ask for a new one.
So, the years rolled along. I lost things at a fairly normal human rate, I think. Nothing ever too crucial, as I recall.
And then came this week.
- I have a spatula I like for bread-making. It's got a long metal handle and a nice rubber scoopy thing at the end. I've used it for several years now. It's perfect for getting the sourdough starter out of its jar, perfect for scraping the dough out of the bowl for the kneading. Perfect. Now it's gone. Not in the little can-like thing that hold other utensils. Not in the utensil drawer. Not in the dishwasher. Not under the toaster oven. Not any damn where! I long, long ago learned not to ask Joyce about such things in any kind of tone that suggests in the slightest way that she is responsible. Have you seen ...? is about the riskiest thing I can ask. I know it's my fault, the missing spatula. She virtually never uses it. I use it only for baking (pretty much). But it is gone.
- Last night, getting ready to read in bed, I could not find my Kindle--an older one in a brown cover that I keep upstairs. It lives on a little shelf beside my bed. Okay, sometimes I fall asleep and forget to remove it (and my iPhone and the various TV remotes) from the bedding. So I dug through the bedding. No. Checked underneath the bed--from many angles. No. Called for reinforcements--and some very careful questions. No. Then I looked again on the shelf. And there it was, up tight and flush against the left side, its brown cover making it sort of invisible against the grain of the wood. I'd looked there 436 times already and had not seen it. But there it was. Confession to Joyce. Who was very ... professional ... about her response.
- And now the worst: Last night (again) I noticed my driver's license was not in the little windowed compartment in my wallet. I rarely remove it, but I knew I'd done so up at University Hospitals on Friday--they'd wanted to see a picture ID. Did I leave it there? This morning, I called UH (got bounced around to just about every operator in the system before I found the right person and the desk where I'd been on Friday); no, they'd not seen it. Damn. I checked online, saw that I could easily get a replacement at the DMV. So ... we're just back from the office in Kent (and, yes, all the cliches about the lines at the DMV are true). I produced my Social Security card, answered the questions (no, I am not a drug-user), paid the $25.50, posed for the picture, signed all I needed to sign. They were about to hand me the new license when I had a thought: What if the old one is behind the little windowy place I usually keep it. I looked. There it was. Joyce agreed that this would be amusing rather than worrisome. I asked the clerk: If the other one turns up [IF!?!], should I just cut it up or something? Yes, she thought that would be a good idea.
And so I'm home now, sitting at the computer, feeling foolish, thinking Diogenes might have had a good idea. Own nothing = lose nothing. But the painting below, showing him with Alexander the Great, also shows he has a walking stick. Had he lost it? Is he thanking Alexander for returning it to him? I'm pretty sure he is.