I can never find anything. After studying the issue for years, I’ve finally diagnosed the problem. It’s all the fault of the “Put Awayers.” Now, absolved of guilt and relieved of the notion of diminished mental acuity, I’m finally able to move on with confidence, if not with my stuff.
My wife knows where everything is–simply because she’s put it away. She’s a Put Awayer. She was born a Put Awayer. My mother-in-law told me that, shortly after birth her daughter put away her own pacifier and cuddle blanket (after folding). So, it’s not surprising my wife puts the general family stuff away, as well as our daughter’s stuff, our dogs’ stuff, and yes, my stuff. All away. All hidden.
Now, the dogs can usually find their stuff because they can smell it. Whether seeking squeak or bone toys, our dogs know who moved their cheese, so-to-speak, and can run to the drawer where it has been stashed. With my nasal allergies, however, I can’t smell Limburger cheese let along “must-have” items such as car keys, Advil, Droid, eyeglasses, and Epoxy glue. I’m left to wander an empty desert in search of these and other vital belongings. (Incidentally, my daughter doesn’t need to find her stuff because she never uses anything more than once.)
My system for finding things is foolproof–but not immune to tampering by Put Awayers. Things I need to find I’ll leave out on the counter–usually the kitchen island counter, though any counter will do. On, or under tables is good too. My theory is, out of sight, out of mind.
If I see my meds on the counter, I remember to take them. When I see my shoes under the coffee table; I can jump into them and go. Seeing my dirty socks beside the bed, and I’m reminded they need washing. With this system, one doesn’t need to be clairvoyant: Life unfolds before you, visually, without the guesswork imposed by Put Awayers. Anything one can see, one doesn’t need to remember.
So why do Put Awayers do what they do? Why do they muck around with the natural order of things? Moreover, what is their compulsion to make visual organizers like myself feel like they’re steps away from the loony bin. What pleasure could Put Awayers possibly find in seeing others walking around in confusion, scratching their heads in a cynical shell game of loss and despair?
Just to be fair to my wife, I can’t find the stuff that I, myself, put away either—especially my most important stuff. I always think of clever places to put uber-important things that I don’t want left in plain sight: things like my passport, my thumb drive of drug interactions, or my parole papers. (Parenthetically, my wife tells me I was never actually imprisoned, so I’ve stopped looking for those documents). Anyway, I’m too clever for myself. The important things I put away–the things that I absolutely, positively must be able to locate–somehow become so safely stored they remain that way for decades (or until my wife finds them). I recently paid a parking ticket I found from 1985 (coincidentally, the year before I was married).
My wife not only finds the things of mine she puts away, but also the things I’ve hidden from her. You have to get up pretty early to find that incriminating Whoopy Pie wrapper before my wife does. Who else would look under the car floor mat? On the positive side, however, she also found the Broadway theater tickets there, saving our anniversary weekend. So I think I’ll keep her around. Luv you sweetheart.
Chappaqua alumnus and 35-year resident of Chappaqua, humorist Rick Reynolds resides in southern New Hampshire with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.