Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Losing Things.

The events depicted in the following column are based on true stories. The names have been changed to protect the increasingly old, decrepit and feeble-minded.

I have a friend – who shall remain nameless, but he’s in his mid-50’s and lives in this area – who has started losing things more and more frequently.

When you hear some of the things he loses, you’ll think he’s sort of pathetic… but trust me, he’s cool.

My friend has always lost things. Back when he was a youngster, he frequently “lost his homework”. More than once, he lost his library book, earning my friend a stern rebuke from the librarian, which, to this day, has left him scarred and wary of libraries… or at least, this is what I have heard from my friend.

Throughout the years, my friend seems to have regularly lost items of clothing. Most notably, I think is that he has lost a lot of sock. Not a lot of “socks”… but a lot of “sock”… singular. He never seemed to lose an entire pair of socks, only a single sock. During the span of his 54 years – or however old he is – I would guess that he has lost 50 or 100 sock.

A few years back, he lost his pants a couple of times. Now lest you think anything unsavory, put those thoughts aside. I can vouch for my friend, and there was nothing unsavory whatsoever involved. He just simply lost his pants. Twice. Simply disappeared. Like “presto”!

Similarly unexplained is the time he lost an entire suit. It was a fairly new brown suit. The presumed explanation is that my friend dropped it off at the dry cleaners, but then forgot which one. Still, when he visited every single dry cleaner in the vicinity of anyplace he had been during the previous month, my friend came up empty. The suit was gone.

These days, my friend has starting making a habit of losing small, useful items, like the ink-pens he uses each week to write his… to write his…. his weekly “reports”. Yeah, that’s it! His reports!

He also loses the remote control to the TV at least once a week, which always causes confusion, because he doesn’t know which of the buttons on the TV turns it on or changes the channels or the volume, except with the remote. And even if he did know which button to push, it wouldn’t help, because he also regularly loses his eye-glasses and contact lenses, and when he tries to operate the TV without them, he ends up watching very blurry Spanish subtitles. Loud!

Another small useful item he seems to lose a lot is his car keys. Mostly, he loses those on mornings when he’s running late to an appointment.

Lately, though, my friend has taken his “losing things” to a whole new level. Now he not only loses the car-keys, he also loses the CAR!

My friend, you see, does a lot of the grocery shopping, and usually visits the Kroger, Bi-Lo or Food Lion a few times a week. Frequently, the toughest part of his visit is the part after he pays for his groceries and heads out to the parking lot to his car. While most people walk straight to their car in a matter of 10 or 12 seconds, my friend sometimes wanders the parking lot for a few minutes trying to remember where he left his vehicle. Granted, he’s not entirely focused on the task at hand, because he’s probably talking on his cell phone 99-percent of the time before, during and after his shopping excursion. But he also faces another dilemma: my friend is NOT a car person, and to him, all the automobiles look alike. (He drives a rather obnoxious car, which should help, but it doesn’t.)

Once, my friend drove to Atlanta and parked his car at the airport parking lot. The Atlanta airport parking lot, it turns out, is massive. When he went back to find his car shortly after 10pm at night, it was snowing. Then the cars really DID all look alike. Finally, after midnight, in sub-freezing snowfall, he found the car. True story. I can vouch for my friend.

At least once, my friend lost a car for good. Fortunately, it was a clunker which my friend had bought in lieu of renting a car for two weeks while his real car was in the body shop. (My friend is not real fond of renting things.)

On this occasion, he drove the clunker to his hometown of Lexington – which is coincidentally my hometown as well, which is why I know this story so well – when the clunker suddenly clunked out. Rather than deal with the problem at the time, he called a friend for a ride and left the broken-down car in a parking lot, fully intending to pick up the car later in the day. A week later, he finally got around to it. He went to the parking lot where he thought he left it, then another parking lot, then another and another. He called the LPD, but they had no report on it. On the ride home, he visited another couple of parking lots… but then something came up, and he forgot about it. It was gone forever, not unlike his new brown suit.

Yes, my friend seems to have a habit of losing many things. But one thing he will not lose is his dignity, thanks to the magic of “changing the names to protect the increasingly old, decrepit and feeble-minded.”

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