I think life is like this for people who lose things all the time. Objects come and go, passing in and out of life like a March wind. It might be here, it might be there – it might appear in a sudden gust and then disappear with a whisper and a whoosh, or perhaps linger longer, like a lilting breeze.
I see this unpredictable existence with my students all the time.
Pencils routinely vanish into thin air without anyone ever leaving their seat. No kidding – I’ve looked for them. They’re gone. Homework – and folders containing homework – disappear seemingly at will. Even vocabulary cards that are fastened to folders with steel rings fall off and vanish. Countless glue sticks, markers, erasers, and pairs of scissors are needed for each individual just to make it through a single school year. Nothing lasts – everything is transitory, and should be dispensable – just to save money and frustration. On this arbitrary planet, you learn not to care too much about things because they are just too fickle to invest in.
This is an existence that I am familiar with by proximity only. I rarely lose things. In my world, I put things places, and the next time I look for them, they are still there – in those places. I count on my surroundings to be reliable, and they are. I have expectations of my universe that are routinely met because I live in a world of considerable predictability.
On the flip side, I have close family members who are just as comfortable on Planet Random. Jackets, hats, and gloves are superfluous because they are too hard to keep track of and it’s just easier and less expensive to do without. Besides, it’s not really that cold once you get used to it.
Wallets and cell phones are a frequently-looking-for-them items.
In full disclosure, I did lose something years ago, and it was a biggie. I lost our car keys 300 miles from home on a college visit with our daughter. Naturally it was July 4th weekend, and all garages and mechanics were closed. This necessitated a tearful phone call to my husband who generously and immediately drove the 300 miles to rescue us with the spare set of car keys. I was absolutely shaken to the core.
“Not a big deal at all, Hon”, he counseled, handing me the keys. This was his planet, and things just come and go. It’s just like that here.
I have a son who recently lost his only car key to his only outdated, one-of-a-kind car.
What did he do?
He bought a bike.