Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Blog of Lost Things

I'm an incorrigible loser.

Yuck it up, chuckleheads - but it's true. Ever since I was in short pants (I love that saying like I love short pants) I am always losing things. I have gone through a record 14 debit cards, lost countless pieces of jewellery, and misplaced enough single gloves to unknowingly supply a Michael Jackson impersonator convention. I am also a grown adult, so I'm constantly frustrated that I can't seem to kick this habit.

I remember vividly the day my mom bought me a pair of shoes from Kiddie Kobbler, the whimsically misspelled store for children's shoes just around the corner from our house. I was wholly enamored with these pink, blue and yellow sneakers that I'd fallen in love with. Velcroed and gorgeous in their canvassed splendor, I begged to have them. My mom hemmed and hawed - my gut says they cost $40 with tax, which was a lot for us back then, especially for something I'd outgrow. Somehow my begging worked and she relented. I loved my shoes to death.

Until, like, 2 weeks later when I lost one on the way home.

I know, I know, how the hell does a person lose *one* shoe on the walk home? I dunno, but I did it. My teacher and I retraced my steps, we checked the lost and found, we scoured my bag and desk and classroom- nothing. My mother was massively disappointed in me and declared "I'm never buying you $40 shoes ever again." And she didn't. In fact, my guilt was so great that I, personally, never spent more than $40 on a pair of shoes or boots until I was 20 years old.

But life-long trauma aside, things are just things. They can be replaced, nothing's permanent anyway, blahblahblahYOLO, so mostly I get over these moments of ineptitude after a few swears and a healthy dose of self-recrimination. The exception to this is when I lose memories.

I mean that not in an early-onset dementia, "The Notebook" type-way but when I lose things like emails, keepsakes and, most especially, pictures. Then the anatomy of that loss is much more heart-wrenching.

A few weeks ago I lost my phone. I'm usually good about hanging on to phones.* More often than not I replace them because they just stop working either due to mechanical error or personal idiocy (pro tip: don't put your phone in the same purse as a bottle of water). After said water bottle incident (to henceforth be ever known as "watergate") I was forced to purchase a new phone at the beginning of this year. I decided to go a little crazy and get myself a smartphone. I loved my smartphone. It amused me on long bus rides, gave me precise maps and directions during the dozens of times I got lost, and allowed me to exact virtual punishment upon my life-long nemeses - green pigs who chuckle when I throw birds at them. And one of the best parts about it was an 8 megapixel camera, effectively replacing my point-and-shoot Canon for day-to-day shots. This became especially true once Instagram was released for Android. Because I have a penchant for taking pictures of myself drinking Starbucks in 1973. Yes, I loved my little camera-ready smartphone. I think you can see where this is going.

A few weekends ago I went shopping with my sister. We bought a lot of produce for her canning experiments (canning is the new knitting for hipsters. I'm okay with that because I like pickles better than hats.), flowers for my front step, stuff for the house, etc, etc. We were laden down. I stopped into a department store bathroom for a second to do my dirty, sinful business.

Afterwards, packages bursting, we headed onto the bus. I pulled out my phone to check the time and... no I didn't. I rummaged through my purse for a minute or two, finally asking my sister to call my phone. No ring. No buzz. No phone. As I was only a short ride home, I dumped off my stuff and then called the department store's number. They saw no phone. The lost and found? No phone. I realize now I should have just gotten back on that bus, ridden it downtown and walked back into that bathroom stall myself. But it was late, I was tired and, as is the cause of most of my problems, I was lazy. Who would want a phone with a broken screen? (did I mention I'm also careless? I'm also careless). The city is safe and quiet- who would take it? Well, someone did, I guess, because I never did find it. I don't even know if I left it in the washroom or whether I put it down somewhere else. All I knew is that it was gone, and I was upset. My incredible luck with things working out for the best was not working for me that day. It was over.

It was only 2 or 3 days later when I'd stopped my daily calls to the store that I realized the true loss I'd suffered. Over 800 photos and dozens of videos were stored on that little piece of technology, and I'd downloaded only a fraction. Thank GOD I downloaded the ones from my friend's wedding in Ohio and our following trip to New York City. I almost hyperventilated for a second when I thought I'd lost those.

But as the days went by I would stop and remember another photo that had been lost to my ineptitude- my family's trip to Syracuse, while not exactly magical, was hilarious and I cringed remembering my insistence that there was "no need to take a camera - I [had] my phone!" I felt/feel so stupid. I had a thousand opportunities to, as the philosopher Juvenile observed, Back That Thang Up. But I didn't, and I have no one to blame but myself. It's like when I let an email account from my youth lapse and lost all the emails from when I was 17 years old. Okay.. maybe that's a blessing in disguise but when I realized that I'd lost the email from Producer/Director Tom Fontana when he posted my song parody based on his show, Oz, on his website big fat tears rolled down my cheeks. I know you can't take it with you but I'm an emotional packrat. I keep love letters, postcards, inside joke scribblings, stuffed animals - you name it, I'll throw it in a box and forget about it for a year or two. And when these things are taken away from me, I panic, devastated that I now have to rely on my faulty brain to remember these things, my memory-joggers completely gone. I'm like Obama without a teleprompter - zing! Politics!

And I watched enough Hoarders to know that purging is good but when it's done without my consent, it feels so terrible. I react to it about as well as the Hoarders do when the little blonde psychiatrists come to clean up their mountains of adult diapers and chipped china plates.

I'd like to say I've learned something from this most recent loss, and I think I have. I backed up all my digital photos from 2007-2010 on my aging laptop on a USB stick. I'll do the others soon, I promise. I'm going to put more photos in facebook albums instead of just thinking I should. I'm going to print photos from my phone now that technology is sufficiently amazing. Pictures are nothing if not shared. And I'll try to include more photos here, if I can - in fact, the blog post about saying goodbye to my old apartment now contains the only remaining photos from that evening.

And hopefully, I'll try to be preemptively less lazy. Pay attention when I'm putting things down, go back and look for things if I do misplace them. Because with all the poutine I plan on eating in my life, my heart won't always be able to withstand these crushing events forever.

* save for the first one I ever got, a little Nokia brick that I promptly lost less than 24 hours after getting it, prompting a huge freakout (I remember instantly recalling the lost shoes, in fact) until its discovery in an easy chair at work the next day.


  1. I'm sorry for your phone loss!

    (and I got the RSS feed up on DW :-))

    1. Sweet - got yours, too! And yeah, it still stings. But I should get my shizzle together. ;)

  2. Ironic (in the Alanis Morisette way) that you posted this, as I arrived at work today with one glove and many swears...

    1. My condolences on your glove. May it have gone to meet its brethren.. or the approximately 48 of my own.

  3. Is it terrible that I still have trouble reading this entry? I'm such a dummy. I will totally totally take that hug :)