There have been times over the years when I lose things. This bothers other people more than me but I remember two waves of losing in particular, which included in total: a pair of pants, a bathing suit, a journal, and a very nice raincoat.
The pants and the bathing suit bothered my boyfriend at the time (it was our mid-20’s), understandable considering I could only conjur a vague idea of where they could have been left. About the pants, probably hanging in a hotel closet before I learned to check, double check, then triple check while packing, I didn’t care. The bathing suit I mourned a little, a simple one-piece from Land’s End in my favorite maroon color. I can remember its final swim at The Pond behind The Barn with My Friend, trysh: our graduate school summer escape in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Is it still hanging somewhere, left to dry?
The diary was troubling to me. Writing helped me to hack through the anxiety of my first year at Middlebury among the teaching elite when I was sure my public school education, rural teaching post, modest degree from state school and distaste for coffee would make me the target of sneers and exclusion. This cloud of intimidation meant recent writings did not exactly show me in the best light so I was desperate to find it. It turned out that someone had given that worn and black-covered sketchbook full of nonsense to the front desk. The front desk at the Bread Loaf Inn at Middlebury College is something like a coat check in a fancy barn staffed by two friendly, white-haired Vermonters. They handed it to me without one raised eyebrow across their four and I convinced myself that neither these kind-and-simple-country-people nor the unidentified person who had turned it in had so much as lifted the cover.
Where I picked up my journal from the nice Vermont couple.
The next time I recall losing something was on 9/14. 9/14, if you don’t know, is the Friday 3 days after 9/11. I had just purchased a stylish and pricey Ann Klein raincoat on the Miracle Mile, which for me in Chicago was time wasted shopping justified by midwest practicality. It was perfect and I loved that coat. When I went to retrieve it the following week from The Lucky Platter in Evanston (…realizing finally that I no longer had it…) the coat was gone. I think it was left on the hook jutting from the booth where Erin and Leila and I celebrated their birthdays while picking at food and reviewing every minute of the previous Tuesday for the umpteenth time, as we would do–and will do–many times over again.
I hope the waitress enjoyed my raincoat as much as I did.
Now in Hong Kong, the losing things-thing is back. 2 items have evaporated into the dead space of forgetfulness: my most versatile black jacket and my Kindle, which is the same as losing 15 things because the jacket was for work and play and the Kindle had 12 books.
But I’ve gotten more mindful over the the years because I know exactly where I left these goodies. My Kindle was here under the pillow on the right.
Sept 8, Jakarta to Singapore, SQ 947, Seat 15D
Whoever picked it up is likely to be disappointed at the booklist, which includes such page turners as, The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently … And Why, by Richard E. Nisbett (Free Press. c. 2003).
And my black jacket is here.
It will be eight sizes too big for whomever found it on that arm of that couch in that lobby of whatever hotel that was.
So, what is the net/net on all these missing items?
Here I might drone on about how we often need to lose to win or express gratitude for just losing a raincoat on 9/11 or conclude that going to a hard graduate school built my confidence.
But the only lesson seems to be: when I’m stressed, I lose stuff!
(Apologies to my brother who had to find out like this that I lost my Kindle.)