Monday, July 14, 2008

The finder

(From just about a year ago...)

I am obsessed with finding things. I want to know where things are. I will search relentlessly for things. I hate not knowing where things are.

I don't think the kids get this. I think they have learned to be afraid of telling me they can't find something. I will ask them over and over again what they were doing when they lost it, ask them to retrace their steps. I will ask them to clean up. I will lead them on an intense search. I don't see how they can be so uninterested, remember so little about what they were doing. They probably can't stand how determined and single minded I become. "I can't find it, but don't tell mom," I imagine them saying.

If the tape is missing from the kitchen drawer, I'll say, "Did anybody use the tape?" More often than not, "no one" will have used it, there are no recollections whatsoever. Utter blankness. And then I, who have never touched the tape, haven't seen it used, have no consciousness (sub or otherwise) about it whatsoever, will go and find it, clearly used, and then come the revelatory nods, the "a ha's" and "oh yeah's" like a miracle has occurred. Wow, what do you know, it has appeared, out of thin air. Oh yes, you are right, I did take it to make a paper hat. I remember—now.

This summer I was struck by just how good I am at finding things when the dad of one of Rees' friends called to ask if his son had left his gecko fleece jacket at our house. He couldn't find it and they were leaving on a trip. No, I hadn't seen the fleece, I didn't think it was at our house, but I would have a look.

I was pretty sure I would have noticed it if it was here. But I wanted to help him, so I thought back to the last time this friend had been over. I thought about the weather and if he would have likely brought a fleece. I remembered a cool day that week and remembered his mom saying he was going over early to another friend's house. I mentioned this other friend to the dad. He thought a minute and then said, "Oh yeah, I see it now, I put it on his backpack when he was going out that day, then he decided not to take it and I put it back in the closet, just where it should be. I didn't think to look there."

I think I should start a finding business. I hadn't touched the fleece, I had no idea where it was, it didn't involve me in any way, but I helped him find it. There has got to be good money in this.

Update 7/14/08: I have started making the effort to notice when the kids do find things. "You're the finder!" I'll proclaim. Cheers all around. And, just to reward myself (because nobody seems to value this skill as much as I do) when I find something, I'll let my zeal spill over not into a "see, I told you..." tirade, but instead: "I'm the finder, Mama's the finder!" It seems to be raising the interest in finding things around here. Finally.

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