The sudden discovery of a lost or missing item throws me into a panic. My brain and stomach tense up. My thoughts have a singular focus, whispering with forced calmness, more devastating than a yell, “How could you let this happen?”
I’ve lost several earrings to stretchy, chunky scarves. I’ve misplaced adhesive backings to temporary plastic hooks used to hang holiday wreathes, that I knew, just KNEW, I had purchased on clearance December 26 of the previous year.
I thought I left my iPhone at a Firestone during an oil change the night before leaving on an international flight. Minutes before the close of business, I drove over to search the Firestone waiting area, while baffled and slightly amused employees inquired if I needed help. I later logged into “Find my Phone” and saw the blue dot hovering over my street address. I found the phone plugged into a random outlet.
I’ve searched aggressively through carry-on items and later, checked baggage, fueled by unwarranted suspicion of petty thievery by hard working laborers in the travel and hospitality industry. I could visualize exactly the last time I had packed “safely” away in its zippered spot, that ONE tank top I absolutely needed.
The tremendous relief when I find items never seems to temper outsized future anxiety. I’ve found earrings months later inexplicably on the driver seat of my car and in a subsequent incident, that same earring was located during the summer lying on the floor of my laundry room beneath the hook where the winter scarves hang.
As a child, I was brought to tears once, holding my stuffed bear, imagining a day when I might lose her. Or even worse, forget her. Have no need for her. I promised never to let that happen. To this day, this bear sits on a bookshelf, an old sock holding in the stuffing on her crumbling leg.
As an infant who was lost and found by strangers, tracking things feels like a major aspect of my life’s work.