Confessions of an absent-minded misplacer

"Oh no! I forgot something, but what?"
“Oh no! I forgot something, but what?”
Many years ago, after we had been living together for a few years, someone at a social function asked what the first thing we had ever argued about had been. We looked at each other for a few seconds, and one of us said, “I can’t think of anything,” while the other asked more-or-less simultaneously, “Have we ever had an argument?” And the person who asked the question didn’t believe us. One of the other people argued that we couldn’t possibly be a real couple if we’d never had an argument. Which is what prompted me to say, “Well, he does get aggravated at me when I lose my keys. Or my wallet. Or my glasses—” And he interrupted to say, “That’s not an argument! You’re never angry at me when you lose stuff. You’re always angry at yourself.”

And one of the others said, “There we go! See, now you’re disagreeing about whether that was an argument! I knew it wasn’t possible for people to live together and never disagree!”

Which caused both of us to explain that a disagreement isn’t an argument. An argument is a usually heated or angry exchange of opposing views with the intent to prove the other person wrong. We disagree about all sorts of things, but we discuss things amiably. And usually we wind up, as we explain our thoughts to each other: either talking ourselves into agreeing, or both realizing we already agree about the big topic and only have a niggle on a side issue, or both coming to the conclusion that either position is a valid one, and each of us have picked one side mostly for reasons of emotion or as a matter of preference.

One of the people at the table shook his head and said, “You guys have no frickin’ idea how a relationship is supposed to work!” And walked away. I think that since we just passed the 19th anniversary of our first date, still living together, and both seem to still be pretty happy about it, that maybe we have at least a notion.

I do get very, very upset when I lose things. And my poor husband has to put up with it while I’m rushing around the house, looking underneath things while I mutter and grumble ever more angrily. Then he tries to calmly work around me, methodically checking more carefully all of places where I might have set my keys down while I was fetching the travel mug I wanted to take with me…

Last week we had an incident where I was getting ready for work (he leaves for work much earlier than I do, so I was home alone), and I remembered that I needed to run to a nearby store before I headed to the bus stop. My husband’s birthday was coming up, and I had ordered him some things from his Amazon wish list. One of the items was supposed to be delivered on Monday, but when I got home from work, there was a notice from UPS on the door that claimed no one had been home when they stopped. Which wasn’t true, because my husband had gotten home from work about a half hour before the UPS guy stopped at the house, and there had been no notice stuck on the door when he got home. So they hadn’t actually rang the doorbell, and probably only perfunctorily tapped the door before leaving.

Anyway, instead of giving us an option to sign the notice and have the package left at the door the next day, the notice said the package would be available for pickup the next day. So the next day I had left work at my usual time, and was partway through the walk home when I remembered the package, so I stopped at a bus stop, caught the bus, and tried to get to the store before it closed. I missed it by less than ten minutes.

So the next morning I headed up to the store to get the package. The drop off is at a local flower shop, and while one of the ladies was finding my package, I was looking as some of the gifts and soaps they had on display. I signed for my box, carried it out to the car, fumbled a bit with my keys and phone and other things in my pocket to get the car unlocked and such, drove back home, locked up the car, and gathered the rest of my stuff to go to work. Which is when I discovered that my badge holder and lanyard—which contains my bus pass as well as the badge that I have to use to get in and out my office space (our badges are also keycards that unlock doors in the office) was not in my pocket with my phone.

I was fairly certain I had picked up the badge holder from the spot on the coffee table where I usually put all my pocket things each night when I get home from work. But it wasn’t in any of my pockets. It wasn’t on the coffee table… and as I searched other places, I still couldn’t find it. I couldn’t ride the bus downtown without my pass. I would have to check out a temporary badge face various inconveniences at the office because of it without my real badge, and so on.

About an hour later I had thoroughly searched everywhere. I had called the shop where I had picked up the package to ask if by chance I had dropped the badge on the floor or counter when I had pulled out my wallet to show them my driver’s license. They couldn’t find my badge.

I was late at that point, but was considering running up to the store to look around their parking lot when my phone rang. It was a product manager from work, and there was an emergency he needed my help with. And for reasons far too complicated to go into at this juncture, fixing the emergency involved tasks I couldn’t do on the company computer, but the tools were installed on my personal Macbook Pro that was right there. So I got the details, called my boss to explain about the last badge and the emergency, and I worked from home that day.

During my lunch break I did run up to the store, but there was no sign of the badge. In the afternoon when my husband got home from work, while I was still working from my computer, he quietly wandered around the house searching. And then when I was finished with my work day, we both tried to calmly go through the house together.

There was still no sign of the badgeholder.

The next day I headed in to work early, since I would have to meet the building’s security guy and get him to take me up the elevator to our floor, then report the lost badge and so forth. One really pleasant surprise was learning that the fee they charge to replace a lost of stolen badge has gone back down to a reasonable fee (it had been raised a few years ago for laughable reasons). So that was nice. A little later in the day, at the suggestion of a co-worker, I logged into the county bus system site to report my pass (which is a flex pass that you can electronically load with money to pay for bus rides, trains, and other transit options) lost. Because not only will hey send you a replacement, they will transfer the money you had on the old card to the new one!

While I was logged in, I checked the activity report and saw that someone had used my buss pass about 6 hours after I realized it was missing to ride a bus that I never ride. Essentially confirming that I didn’t simply misplace it somewhere in the house and it will turn up in a couple of weeks in someplace that neither of us ever thought to look.

On Sunday, my husband handed me a small package containing four Tiles, which are blutooth tracking devices I can attach to my keys, put in my wallet, attach to my new badge, et cetera. I can use my phone or a computer to track the tiles, or to activate a beeping sound from the tile. I can also squeeze a button on any of my tile to make my phone emit the Find My Phone alert sound, if I misplace the phone. Of course, I use Apple’s Find My Phone function rather frequently… to find my misplaced phone which usually turns out to be within a few feet of my when I activate the beacon. So I have been aware of this sort of option for quite some time.

The tiles are big (but that means they have a long battery life an good transmission range), or I’d attach one to my eyeglasses, because I’m always losing those, too! And my favorite pencil (it’s a hand-turned tiger wood pencil with pewter colored metal fixtures created by a good friend, and besides feeling really good to write with, it’s gorgeous!) since I misplace it all the time…

I took it as a hint that he would like me to stop wasting so much time looking for misplaced keys and such. It’s probably something I should have done a while ago!

Oh, I still ultimately blame the lost pass and badge on the UPS driver who didn’t bother to actually ring the doorbell originally.

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