Thursday, February 26, 2009

Suburban Wormholes and Plainer Things

Suburban Wormholes and Plainer Things
Al Bruno

"How can all the butter knives be gone?"

Is it marriage? Parenthood? Ageing? Now don't get me wrong, I lost stuff back in the old days too, but it was never so bad and so irritating. Nowadays things just seem to disappear. I sometimes think wormholes are the only rational expiation, somehow tiny pinholes open up in the fabric of reality and snatch away things from us and deliver them to some other place. This is not an original thought, this is from Douglas Adams but at times I think he may have been right.

"Where is my shoe? I can only find one shoe."

Now lets just confirm here that this is not one of my many rants about my loss of hair (But why God WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?) this is about those magazines your sure you left on the table, or those darn nail clippers that you know should be in the junk drawer. Where do these things go? How can we be so certain they're in one place when they're really in another? Of course this can cut both ways. For example, somewhere in my house there is a digital stopwatch but I don't know where it is. I only know that at around 4 AM it bleeps for 60 seconds. I have been awoken by this sound many times, usually with a panicked cry of "Fries are up!"

Regardless of what I may or may not scream I frequently stumble out of bed and go crashing around the darkened kitchen trying to find the source of the noise. I look in the junk drawers, behind the washing machine, under the fridge, even under the sink. I don't know where it is, I only pray that when we move again we leave it behind instead of somehow inadvertently packing it and taking it with us again.

"Well where did you leave the library book? It’s overdue."

The umbrella, the remote control, that envelope with the directions to the barbecue- all gone. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. At least if it was valuables and shiny things we could suspect it was thieves, at least if we found chewed up stuff under the bed we could blame the dogs and if it was dollar bills then my wife would know I was going to that strip club again.

But no, it’s always accessories, it’s always things you can set down and turn your back on. No one ever loses televisions, boxes of cat litter or spare tires. Trust me, I’ve been trying to lose my spare tire for years.

“Your car keys? How could you lose your car keys?”

And the more important it is to your well being the harder it is to find again. Dear reader, I am a man on a quest, an eternal quest to see where he left his glasses this time. I think I understand why Elton John wore such audacious eyewear- so he could find the fucking things.

Medicines are pretty easily lost too, sometimes my Prozac is in the medicine cabinet, sometimes I leave the bottle in my desk drawer or the kitchen counter near the fishbowl. The only exception was during my month of kidney stones, I don’t care how woozy I was I knew right where those sweet sweet vicodin pills were every moment of the day. I think once I got into a fight with the cat because he was standing too close to them.

Of course the cat won- but I was crazy and stoned, what did you expect?

“Ok just stop and try to think about where you had it last. Don’t give me that look…”

I might suspect that this happens because my wife, daughter and I all move stuff when we’re cleaning up after each other but I would be lying to myself if I did. My daughter and I never do any housework, it’s sad really.

Once my friend Greg once gave me a Stone Temple Pilots CD, I thanked him by juicing up his D&D character’s stats before the game started. That night I opened the cd case and saw it was empty. Now a few hours and orcs ago I had looked right at the thing but somehow it had vanished. I searched for hours but it was gone. I keep the empty case in the closet and check it every once in a while to see if the CD has come back but just like the Stone Temple Pilots record sales, it most likely never will. See what I mean about those darn wormholes?

Speaking of role playing games, I lost one of those without a trace as well. It was Over the Edge by Robin D. Laws. I was sure it was in this one box in my closet but when I went looking for the game all I found was some old party supplies. If you know anything about Over the Edge you’ll probably find that hauntingly appropriate.

“I just bought soap. Don’t tell me we’re out, we can’t be out.”

Moving was the worst, the sheer amount of stuff that was somehow lost simply staggers the mind. We lost some clothes, some pots and pans, stuff like that. I suppose it is a natural consequence of trying to pack your entire house into a single rented truck on a Sunday afternoon with a few drunken friends.

What hurt was losing some of my favorite Clive Barker hardcovers- Imagica, Weaveworld, Cabal and The Great and Secret Show. Those aren’t just books folks, those are entire worlds trapped between two dust jacketed cardstock covers. I could hold those books in my hands and remember the places I was when I was reading them, the things I was feeling, the girls I was striking out with…

“Will someone call me? I don’t know where my cell phone is. Yes I know it’s in my briefcase but I don’t know where it is either.”

So you go on a mad search for these missing things, these AWOL items. You pretty much tear the house apart; lifting couches, throwing cushions and sometimes going through the garbage. You get crazier, you start to accuse your spouse and children of moving things, of plotting against you. The clouds of dust you disturb sting your eyes and soon enough you doubt your own sanity. How could you lose something like that? Why can’t you just put leave your rings on the nightstand or your nose hair trimmer in the medicine cabinet?

“Oh there it is… what the Hell is it doing there?”

Sometimes you never find what you’re looking for again but most times you find the remote under the ottoman, the keys under the car seat and your glasses on the lazy Susan. Nothing dramatic, nothing strange, you’re just another person with more stuff than sense.

I have seen the wormholes and they are us.

1 comment:

  1. True that! Being a blonde, I can't even begin to tell you all the things I've lost...