Lost, Found and the Unfound

One thing I will always find curious are the articles of clothing people seem to misplace. By misplace I mean leave awkwardly, yet understatedly strewn in public. I can’t say I particularly believe in Bigfoot. However, I am inclined to believe there is an illusive community of naked people running around wearing one sock, possibly passing around a singular laced boot depending on whose birthday it is. Even in the small community I live in, on my strolls around town I have seen bras, underwear, socks, t-shirts…a hairbrush (somewhere somebody’s hair is staggeringly unkempt.) It’s perplexing because, really, how does that happen? How does a shoe just fall off, but more importantly, how do you get home one day, pull down your pants and be like, “Ah, crap, I lost my blue Hane’s briefs. Must’ve been when I was walking down the middle of 4th street.”
I am one of those annoying people who takes care of her stuff. When I say annoying, I mean knows exactly where everything is and tend to borrow only to an elite. My collection of widowed earrings is residue from lessons learned the hard way. I find I am often chastised by my friends for what I prefer to see as an admirable attention to detail. If they look at something of mine, they’ll put it back and say, “Is this where it was?” Move it three centimeters and say, “Or is this where it was?” Smartasses. (…actually it’s two centimeters to the left.) I’m joking. But maybe I’m not.
I do not forget. I do not loose. If anything, I am more inclined to drop and run over, like the St. Patty’s cellphone incident of 2010. I don’t want to talk about it. And though it may seem my closet sees greater turnovers than when I play Madden, I actually hold on to particular things and sometimes still wear certain stuff from high school. So when people leave behind a jacket or a nice, new pair of Jordans in a locker room, I think, HOW? It makes me wonder if their stuff was wove out of the finest Andrew Jackson greenbacks if they’d leave it behind the same way…because, basically, it is.
I understand others don’t rule tyrannically over their stuff like it appears I do. But perhaps their parents and grandparents never put the fear in them. I accidentally left behind my favorite feather pillow at a motel once. There was zero sympathy. Many birds were inevitably plucked in vain that day. I was always blessed to have nice things, but in return BELIEVE we were to take care of our things (nice or not). Because as my friend so intricately put it, “It was the ONLY one we were gonna get!” The biggest lesson in taking care of my stuff sits on my finger and has been a daily reminder for 24 years.
For whatever reason, my grandmother has always let me do pretty much anything I wanted since the day I was born. Like watch The Bodyguard in second grade because I was obsessed with Whitney, or wear lipstick to school when I was 9. So when I liked my great grandmother’s wedding ring, she let me wear it. I was 4. Believe it or not, I still wear it every day. It has been resized about 3 times and a diamond chip replaced once. However, it doesn’t rest on my finger void of a story. That ring has been the closest thing to a boomerang I have ever owned.
When I was 5 I was playing jewelry cleaner and wrapped my few rings in a perfect, square little tissue and left it lay on the sink to dry. When I went looking for it mom had thought the Kleenex was garbage. It wasn’t just sitting in the wastebasket next to the sink, it was sitting on the end of the driveway in the can with Max’s diapers, old food and other crap waiting to be picked up by the garbage man. Mom had to dig, but she found it eventually. Lesson 1 in taking care of your stuff: do not leave important things lying around disguised as garbage.
Lesson 2: if you’re going to give something away, make sure it’s not important like a family heirloom. I have always been a sharer and love to give. So when my babysitter told me she liked my ring, straight up gave it to her. When mom realized I wasn’t wearing it, I told her the babysitter thought it was pretty. She had to go next door and explain that I wasn’t allowed to share that particular belonging and needed it back.
If there was any doubt that ring was supposed to be on my finger, it was put to rest. Lesson 3: Do not wear important things to the swimming pool. I did. I wore that thing everywhere, all the time. I never took it off and still don’t. Only now I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come off. In complete mortification I had to explain to my mom that I lost the ring at the pool. It was pretty much concluded that it was a goner after we combed the entire place and no one turned it in by the time summer was over. At that particular moment I was never more sure that I sucked at life. That’s the thing about Zwarts’. We require little punishment because no one is harder on us than our own selves.
A few months into the school year, one of my grandma’s students came into her title room wearing the ring like it was something she popped out of a quarter machine. When grandma asked where she got it, she said she had found it in the pea gravel by the swings at the pool. The odds anyone found it is a miracle in itself, given the fact the silver of the ring probably blended in with the grey pea gravel about as good as a fart in a hog barn. It took a little coaxing, but she eventually handed it over to my grandma. After vowing to never feel like a loser again, I shoved that thing back on my finger like I was nailing down a railroad tie.
Honestly, it’s a pretty simple rule of thumb: respect and appreciate the stuff ya got. Ahem, teenagers who think your parents are just going to replace those Uggs you left behind…shame on parents who actually do. No matter how little you have or how much, there will always someone who has nothing. You are lucky enough to wear $180 boots. Act like it. Plus, I’m sure there’s an illusive naked person who would loooove themselves an Ugg to put with that sock.