Sunday, August 8, 2010


I've written about losing things before, but a string of events has transpired that makes it seem worth writing about a somewhat related matter. There's losing things and there's forgetting things. Forgetting your keys is if you leave them in the door of the house and then sheepishly retrieve them. Losing them is if they're in your pocket at the beach and fall out in the water. The thing that separates the two things could be in the state of mind that holds sway over the person in question. In all practicality, though, I guess the only real difference is in the outcome. In the former case, it's a lot easier to laugh about it. As I said, I've forgotten a number of things lately under what might be called singular but mundane circumstances.

Perhaps a month and a week ago, I went grocery shopping. The store is on the main boulevard which marks the western boundary of our block. I'd say that it's about half a mile away, and I walk to and from it when I shop. It's fair to say that I'm hot and tired when I come back, usually with several heavy bags which I'm working hard to keep from breaking and spilling my groceries on the sidewalk. On this particular occasion, I brought them to the door, set them down as I grabbed my keys to unlock the door, and went inside. Hours later, my roommate came home incredulous that I had left my groceries out in front of the door for almost half the day. I could scarcely believe it myself. It was dismaying to say the least.

More recently, I went shopping for some things, and managed to get them inside the apartment on the table by the kitchen- all of them except for a bottle of lemon dish soap. I knew exactly what had happened to it. I had left it at the checkout lane in the grocery store. I sought out the receipt and went back to the store with the expectation that I would have to mount a convincing verbal argument to persuade the staff that I had indeed left something there and was not attempting to pull a fast one. Much to my surprise, no one was inclined to doubt me. The bottle was right there with the cashier, and she gave it too me. The fight in me dissipated for lack of good cause, and I went hope with my dish soap.

Most recently, I had a big shopping trip at the same store as before. I drove the cart outside the store, extracted the contents and began to walk home. Once I had gotten to the far side of the boulevard, I commandeered an abandoned cart from some store or another in the area. I deposited my goods into it, drove it to my building, extracted my goods and took them upstairs into my apartment. I put away the most sensitive items, poured myself a miraculous glass of cold water and then set to making a snack- some of the tortilla chips and salsa I had bought. I poured out some salsa, and looked around for where I had set down the chips. Ah, but I had not even picked up the chips at the checkout lane to begin with!

I didn't know that for sure just yet. I thought that I could have lost track of them at several points. First, of course, they could be outside the door. Second, they could be in the cart I had left outside. Third, they could be in the cart I had left at the grocery store. Lastly, they could indeed be at the checkout lane. They weren't in the first two places, and I began to recover sensory memory of the trip. This told me that the heavy, pendulous bag of tortilla chips had not occupied a substantial portion of the purloined cart's space or annoyed me by swinging around as I carried the groceries myself. I worked my way back, finally getting to the grocery store.

There, the very cashier (a young high school girl, I presume) who had helped me out with the lemon soap and checked out my goods this very day noticed me, remembered I'd forgotten my chips and advised that they had been returned to the shelves, where I may go to retrieve them on my own. I did so, brought them home in a state of relief, and enjoyed them as I intended with the already-prepared salsa I had left on the counter when the whole thing began. This may be another one of those stories that makes people think less of me if it doesn't bore them to tears, but it was a draining, thrilling tour-de-force for those who lived it: me.

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