I have this bit where I tell anyone who will listen that I always look in one more place than I have to in order to find something. This is in response, I tell those people who have so willingly donated their precious time to hear me riff, to my mother telling me that things will always be "in the last place you look." To be completely transparent, for my parent's sake, I have no specific memory of my mother saying this to me. It's nothing like her assertion that "Sometimes lost isn't a bad thing." I can point to a specific time and place for that one, and it has been used as common wisdom in my family for decades. The "last place you looked" thing is something a lot of grown ups, including myself, have used to calm the frazzled nerves of a child who is frantically searching for a toy or sock or jacket. The obvious solution is to look in that last place first. The reason I say that I always look in one more place after I have found something is to make my mother wrong.
Isn't that terrible?
Okay. It's a joke. I love and respect my mother and we kid each other because that's the way things work in our relationship. Okay. This is something I tell myself to help ameliorate the feeling that maybe I tease my mother more than I ought, which is why I am happy to report this:
Last week, in the middle of a week of wet and chilly weather, I was working my daily transition from knit beanie to baseball cap. The beanie is for the windy commute. The baseball cap is for general yard surveillance. On Thursday, when it came time to shift back to beanie for the ride home, I could not find the beanie. I went to my classroom. I looked in the closets and under desks and chairs. I went to the PE closet and shoved things around, finding a number of items that I had previously given up for dead, but no beanie. I retraced my steps for most of the day, which were many, but withing a nominally confined space.
Then it occurred to me: What is the exasperated response I give to all children who come to me with sad faces, insisting that their jacket/lunchbox/hoodie/backpack is gone forever. "Did you look in the Lost and Found?" I walked back to the cafeteria, looked on the top the pile of discarded outerwear, and there it was. Not where I left it, necessarily, but in a safe place. My faith in humanity was restored. And my apologies to my mother.