Throughout the month of January, WordPress is sending participating bloggers a writing prompt each day. It’s a way to find some creative inspiration and perhaps make connections with other bloggers. My entries in this blogging challenge will appear here under the tag #bloganuary.
It is well-known in my family that I am a “finder.” My full title in this regard is “Douglas, the Finder of Lost Objects,” a title I have earned over many years of finding things around the house when no one else was able to do so. Some would aver that my ability to find lost things–a shoe, a book, a phone, a pair of eyeglasses, a tool, a kitchen utensil, a beloved toy or almost any other lost or misplaced item, especially when the need for that item is imminent or crucial and the one who has lost said item is beginning to freak out–is tantamount to a “spiritual gift.” (For those unfamiliar with evangelical Christian theology, various types of spiritual gifts are bestowed upon individuals by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of others. They are a little like holy superpowers. The finding of lost objects isn’t technically part of the “official” lists of such gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 13, but it seems obvious to me that it should be.) This is a gift and an honor that I carry with all due humility, of course.
When we moved into our present home, it became clear to me that things had changed. Though I had been involved at every step of the move, and though I had personally stored our things in the various closets and nooks and crannies and on the shelves and in the drawers, suddenly things began disappearing. Worst of all, my powers of location seemed to be no match for the advanced sorcery of our new abode.
There are, of course, certain well-documented residential black holes that routinely attract and dispatch certain household items into the void–the dryer is one of these, as anyone with a drawer full of single, unmatched socks can attest. (For the record, I happen to know where every pair of socks I own is located.) The powers of my house to hide things go far beyond simple dryer/sock nonsense.
At first it was the small things–a favorite coffee cup, a wrench, a screwdriver, or a t-shirt. But over time, with increasing boldness, the house began hiding whole sacks of groceries, items of furniture, and on a memorable day in the fall of ’98, three board games, a couch, and two children–one of ours, and one of the neighbors’. (The children were, of course, located quickly, but I still have no idea what happened to the couch.)
My house has a powerful and peculiar appetite for books, shoes, tools, jars of condiments (particularly salsa, for some reason) and various undergarments. There are relatively few items that the house can’t quite conceal effectively enough, such as my wife’s mobile phone, though had I not been there to find it on hundreds of occasions, I suspect my house would surely be racking up thousands in charges for in-app purchases by now. (Her smart watch now helps her locate the house’s latest hiding place for her phone, which has saved me much time and effort.)
We have adapted to our strange new reality as well as could be expected, I think. On countless occasions, after the house has hidden something, I have purchased a replacement for the item, only to locate the item the following day. This is a game that I am convinced the house enjoys playing with me. I sometimes have purchased two items when I only need one, and hide one of them myself, in anticipation that the house will surely hide the other at some point. (The house, unfortunately, caught onto this ploy fairly quickly, so I’m on Craig’s List a lot these days.)
Despite what some in my family may say, I feel I should stress that my powers of lost-object location have not diminished since we moved into this home. If anything, I’m better at it than ever, given the amount of practice this house has afforded me. I would argue that the combination of our accumulation of stuff over many years of living here, along with the house’s unique and dastardly appetite for messing with me, has merely made it seem as though I’ve lost my touch.
Nuh-uh. No way.