Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dedicated to St. Anthony

There's very little that makes me more crazy than losing things. When I lose something, I have to fight the overwhelming urge to completely suspend my life and devote all my time to finding it. Knowing that something is lost -- no, knowing that it is somewhere -- utterly consumes me. I become impossible to live with. I can't sit still. My mind keeps going over and over where it could be, reviewing all the crannies I might have missed in the places I've already looked, becoming enraged by my stupidity for losing it at all, and railing against the seeming impossibility of its disappearance. I want to enlist everyone to help look, even though they're probably less aware of the objects' possible locations than I am. But their inactivity galls me. The lost object is eating away at my soul -- can't they see that?

This week I lost two things. On Tuesday, I wore my long coat to work. In the pockets were my Amanda hat and my Dashing mitts. The pockets on this coat are shallow, so while I can stuff the hat complete inside, the mitts tend to stick out. And I often put my hand to my pocket to find them dangling dangerously close to disengagement. Sometime on Tuesday -- was it in the office? at the CIVT meeting in Harrin? on the way to the Discipline Committee meeting? -- they fell out. I checked with the main lost-and-found center on campus but they didn't have them. Convinced that I had dropped them while walking the grounds on an exceptionally busy back-and-forth-all-over day, I despaired of recovering them. It hurt to lose something I knit for myself, but at least I have other mitts in the pipeline, I thought. Of course, given my pathological obsession with what's lost, I didn't expect to retain that equanimity for long.

On Wednesday I lost the pair of child-size Nalu mitts I'm working on for Cady Gray. They were in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, sharing space in my Ravelry project tote with an Irish Hiking Scarf. I had taken the tote to the staff senate's holiday banquet at midday, knowing that I'd have time to knit on one or the other while in line, and while waiting for the program to begin after lunch. I decided on the scarf, and while we waited for the doors to open I was regaled with praise and interest from the women behind us in line. Then after eating my turkey and trimmings, I did another couple of pattern repeats before and during the door prize awards. When I pulled out the scarf to knit later that night, I was distressed to find that there was only one plastic bag in the tote. Where were the mitts-in-progress? I was somewhat sanguine about finding them on campus, because (a) there were fewer places they could be -- the banquet hall and my office chief among them (it seemed unlikely, though annoyingly still possible, that they could have falled out of the tote in transit to or from those locations); and (b) my name and e-mail was on a Pocket Mod inside the Ziploc (although I frustrated myself imagining that the person who found it wouldn't dig around in there to look).

This morning I walked to work somewhat flutter-stomached over the task of looking for the lost items. I knew I couldn't just wait for them to come to me. First, I'm constitutionally incapable of inactivity in the face of a lost item, as mentioned. Second, the mitts bag also contain a circular needle that I need for my set, a little bag full of stitch markers that I had just bought before starting them, and the Pocket Mod with my complete notes for the mitts knit at full size and the modifications I made to downsize them for a preschooler. Those might be replaceable more or less, but then there's the yarn -- in a discontinued color. All together, they seemed an irretrievable loss that was doomed to frustrate me for months before I could move on.

I walked into the office, and the secretary greeted me. My spirits fell just a bit, because I was sort of hoping she would immediately say, "Oh, somebody brought by the knitting you left at the banquet!" No such luck. But I turned to the right to enter my office, and saw on top of the little lost-and-found box my Dashing mitts. Aha! One down. Not the one I was most upset about losing, but a definite upswing in my fortunes. The secretary told me she'd found them in the stairwell.

Seconds later I entered my office and immediately looked at the chair where I habitually stack my satchel, purse, and knitting bag. Tucked just under it was a Ziploc bag, sitting upright as if somebody had propped it up to pour soup into it. Inside was the half-finished child's mitt, the needle, the markers, the notes, and the yarn.

Within 30 seconds, both lost items were found. And suddenly the weight of my own perceived incompetence lifted like a hot air balloon. I must admit that the sequential loss of the gloves and the project made me feel as if I were doomed to lose one important thing a day for the rest of my life. So their recovery put me back at even. And let me tell you -- square one never seemed so fresh and new.

1 comment:

the secret knitter said...

Phew! I'm glad that you found everything in a story fit for a knitting thriller (if the genre existed).

I know what you mean about losing stuff making you a little insane. I lost a baseball cap a couple years ago, and I swear I have no idea how or where it disappeared. It was in this place, and then it wasn't!