They say, “Nobody gets through life without losing a few things along the way”. For example, despite having dozens of pairs of reading glasses in a variety of colours and different strengths, I regularly can’t find any. Ken says if he had a dollar for every time I said, “Have you seen my glasses?”, we could pay off the mortgage. So I’m no stranger to losing things every once in a while, but the last few days have been ridiculous, and now I know why there are so many quotations about losing things.
1) “Sometimes the things you’ve lost can be found again in unexpected places.”
It started with the loss of a complete room. A week ago, Kate and her boyfriend were getting ready to leave for a town far away where he’ll be doing a Master’s degree. They planned to get up in the morning and drive most of the day to the room he’d rented in a house with a few other guys. Then she messaged in a panic—he’d received an email from the ‘landlord’ telling him that he’d been replaced and no longer had anywhere to stay. Apparently, it’s a lucrative market and it’s not uncommon for people to get better offers for rent and screw their prospective tenants over. This, with school starting in less than a week. They left in the morning anyway, but instead of moving in, now they were desperately trying to find housing for him. He was able to get shared accommodation for October, but where was he going to live in the meantime? Thankfully, my aunt has a friend who lives in this particular university town, and despite never even considering renting space in her home to a student, she unexpectedly and graciously agreed to put him up for the month, proving yet again that for every sh*tty landlord, there’s also a kind stranger.
2) “Nothing is really lost until your mom can’t find it.”
Next, it was Kate’s turn to pack up and go back to school where she’s studying to be a veterinary technician. I had to go to work, so I left it up to her and Ken. I called at lunch:
Me: Are you on the road yet?
Me: Why not?
Ken: We can’t find the cat.
Me: What do you mean you ‘can’t find the cat’?! How did you lose the cat?
Ken: We don’t know. But we can’t find her in the house. The back door got left open, so we’ve looked all over outside, and there’s no sign of her.
Me: Okay, I’m sure she’ll turn up. Shake the treat bag, and message me when you leave.
Half an hour later, there was still no message, so I called again:
Me: Did you find the cat?
Ken: No. Kate’s really upset. I don’t know what else to do.
Me: I’m coming home.
Luckily, I work in a place where ‘cat emergency’ is a perfectly fine reason to leave in the middle of the day, so I raced home, white-knuckling the steering wheel, freaking out that she’d gone out the door and was chased by a dog, or got kidnapped, or hit by a car, or something equally awful. I finally got home and found Kate in tears. I immediately got the treat bag and started walking down the hall, shaking it and calling her name in the high-pitched sing-song way she likes, and suddenly Kate called out, “I thought I heard a meow!” I opened the guest room closet door but she wasn’t in there. I couldn’t hear anything, but when I turned, I saw the linen cupboard and remembered that every time I opened it to put towels away, Ilana tried to jump into it. On a whim, I opened the linen cupboard door, and there she was, snuggled up in the blankets, looking sleepy. She gave a tiny mew and jumped out, expecting treats, which I gave her because I was so happy and relieved.
3) “I don’t lose things; I just place things in locations which later elude me”.
Of course, that all took so long that Ken wasn’t able to move her in until the next day, and that night, she came into my room to tell me about another loss. Apparently her boyfriend hadn’t bought a parking pass for school yet, so he parked on a side street near the university. When classes were over, he went to get his car, and he couldn’t find it. Yep, he lost his car. He didn’t know if it had been towed or if he’d just misplaced it, but he’d been wandering the streets for an hour, pressing the lock button on his remote to activate the horn so he could track it down. I really wanted to say, “Tell him to buy a bag of treats and look in the linen cupboard” but I restrained myself. Half an hour later, she yelled down the hall that he’d located it. Exactly where he’d left it.
At the end of the day, it’s true what they say: “Finding lost things is one of life’s greatest pleasures.” Now, where did I put my reading glasses?