Objets perdus

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

I hate losing things.

The thing is, most of the time, 99% perhaps, they are not lost. Just misplaced.

My husband is perfectly fine with this. After a few minutes of irritation and rapid searching, he gives up. It’s like he lives his life according to what is possibly the world’s first meme:

“If you love something, set it free.
If it comes back, it is yours;
if it doesn’t, it never was.”

Quote: Richard Bach, author of the 1970s novel ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’.

I, on the other hand, drive myself and those around me mad by embarking on a relentless search. Retracing steps. Picturing the object the last time I saw it. Not resting until I have exhausted every possible avenue of investigation that may lead me back to the thing.

“How do you say, ‘lost and found’ in French?” I asked my husband, when I first tried to retrace a lost object in Paris.

“Objets perdus,” he said. “Or, objets trouvés.” Hmm, I wondered. Which is it? The yin or the yang?

Last week, when I lost my very expensive glasses — the ones with the Alain Mikli frames and the progressive lenses that go dark in the sun — on a trip to Annecy, I left no stone unturned. Searched the car, various bags, called the restaurant where we’d had lunch. Emailed them a reminder. Called the stand-up paddle rental place. They all replied kindly and with patience that sadly, no glasses had been found. Rien.

Heart heavy, I realized that acceptance was probably the best approach.

Yet secretly I began to think about getting new ones. They are my working glasses after all, the only pair that lets me comfortably see my computer screen while reading close up, standing up and walking around. Oh, and if somebody comes to the door, as it happens fairly often, my eyes don’t tear up as they normally do in the sun.

“Wait for a while,” advised my husband. “They may turn up yet. Besides, they are very expensive!” He even volunteered to look for them again. Then forgot all about it.

Granted, he loses things a lot more often than I do. His wallet on our honeymoon, his wedding ring while repainting our first apartment, his keys more times than I can remember. He worries less, manages fine without. Is generally happier. I wish I could be more like that.

Years ago, on a return flight from Croatia, his suitcase vanished into some lost-luggage vortex. It was a smart little Samsonite that I’d bought, and it contained all of his best casual clothes. They never found it. If memory serves, we got $200 compensation. I am still in mourning for one particular summer shirt.

It is the lost part of the thing that upsets me. There is no closure. And let’s face it, is there anything sadder than a single sock? Anything more useless than a key untraceable to its lock? One lone earring, bereft of its mate, leaves me longing for my lost youth. Lost luggage makes me grieve for the perfect items that will never be replaced. Knowing it is out there, somewhere, of virtually no value to anyone but me.

I suppose this means I should work on something that in yoga we call attachment. To be happy, we must strive for non-attachment, which frees us to experience the world in a deeper, more fulfilling way. I am far too attached to things and to my creature comforts in general. I know this to be true. And yet. How wonderful is it to be able to see the world through a comfortable pair of glasses?

The best part of losing things is finding them again. The joy I felt when my glasses turned up yesterday, wedged in their black case in a corner pocket of the trunk, was like a redemption.

All is not lost.

Everything is possible.

Namaste.

P.S. What is the most memorable thing you have ever lost or found?

Feature photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

27 thoughts on “Objets perdus

  1. It is impossible for me to lose my glasses. I can see about 10 cms away without them. They are always on my face, except when sleeping, and then they’re in arm’s reach.
    My worst loss was an earring. A diamond stud, bought by my dad for my grandma; I got them when she died. I was in my brother’s bathroom, taking them off, when one twisted in my hair. I yanked–better lose a hair than the earring, but it popped out of my fingers, onto the chair at the vanity in front of me, and I heard it plink to the floor. I went to look and discovered, to my horror, that there was an A/C vent under the chair. No sign of the earring. Looked and looked, all over the bathroom. I know where the earring is–its GPS coordinates. But getting it in my hands requires dissembling my brothers HVAC system. Sigh. It’s still there.

    1. How frustrating! I’m not sure whether I would have gone so far as to start taking the vent apart. Probably not. As you say, there’s comfort in knowing exactly where it is. *sigh*

  2. I’m as bad as you. I once read that if you spend around a half hour per day looking for things, you lose something like two years of your life – can’t remember exactly, but it was scary. An for me it’s more like a half hour per day. Glasses, pens, keys, hats,…Sigh. I couldn’t find my ID card for months, and was just about to give in and apply for a new one when it turned up in the secret compartment of a bag I hardly ever use.

    1. Happy to know I’m in good company! A couple of years ago I officially declared my drivers license lost, ordered a new one and now I have two! The only solution is becoming very OCD about where you put stuff. That’s me on a good day. When I let myself go, all hell breaks loose!

  3. Look at it this way. In a few hundred years, some archeologist will find it, ponder its significance, make incredible assumptions about the religious nature of the object and how no one realized Homo sapiens sapiens had the intelligence then, in the 21st Century, to form metal into small objects. Either that or “Rats! Another dang domestic object lost in the garden. This must be the millionth one we’cve found on this site!” LOL!

    1. That is one heck of a helicopter view! Wise words, and you are right, of course Even more: as our planet is a closed system, what is ‘lost’ after all? I will try to keep the future archeologist in mind next time I lose something. 😂

    1. Thanks! Aw, poor Garfield! Losing something of great sentimental value is as bad as a costly item. I do hope it found a new home and that your replacement is as well-loved!

      1. I bawled my eyes out but could not retrieve it. My replacement Garfield is treasured and well loved to bits😊 You have a great day and thanks for reading always😃

  4. great quote

    thanks for sharing it

    losing something, then getting it replaced, then finding it again is the pits

    especially when the replacement had cost some

  5. I was hoping you’d end this post by saying you had found your glasses. I could write volumes on the stuff I’ve lost over the years – some of them I still think about from time to time – rings, watches (make that multiple watches!), glasses, necklaces, jackets, …
    There is always initially a sense of loss and mourning. Why is it the stuff that’s not really important to us never seems to go missing? 😏

    1. Glad to have provided a satisfying ending! I forgot to add a funny addendum: just after I found the glasses, I got an email from the SUP rental saying: “Good news! We found your glasses!” 😆 Sure hope they make their way back to the right owner!

  6. My mom once found a gold ring with a turqoise in it! She took it to the lost and found office in the town hall, and when nobody had claimed it after six month it was returned to her. It fitted her perfectly and fourty years later she still wears it from time to time. It must have been very sad for the person who lost it, but it has brought joy to her over the years.

  7. A memorable lost and a found:

    One year on the Pacific Coast, my adolescent French grandson was romping in the surf. Having forgotten that he was wearing his glasses, they flew off. Neither an immediate nor lengthier search led to their recovery, which was urgent because of his poor eyesight. He wound up with a new US prescription and pair of glasses.

    Another year, at the same beach, I went out for an early autumn morning stroll. My eye caught the glint of a sharp reflection. It was a watch, a fine men’s watch, lightly nestled in the sand. I picked it up and took it back to show my husband. He acknowledged that it was surely a costly loss to someone and initiated a search through jewelers and watch repair shops to locate its owner through a possible registration number or service. No dice.

    This watch has been on my husband’s wrist for perhaps a dozen years now. When someone comments on it, he tells the story, willing to part with it should its true owner be revealed. Alas, the watch remains in our family.

    1. Sound like you struck gold on the beach! Wouldn’t you just love to know the story of that watch? If only objects could talk! Glad your husband got to reap the benefit of someone else’s loss though. Nice story!

  8. Wow!!!! I so get what you are saying!!! My husband and I travel frequently and I HATE loosing things. He says I am always accusing someone of stealing. Ha!!! Love the, “letting it go”. We all need more of that. Now if I can just find those 2 diamond necklaces I have misplaced! OUCH!

    1. Lol. I also wrongly accuse others of stealing and then when the object turns up, as it (almost) inevitably does, I feel terrible. Although there is the one, rather nice watch that disappeared from our dresser just before our cleaner left without warning. Two years and I still haven’t found it!

  9. I also have a habit of misplacing things that eventually will turn up in the strangest places. There are times when the thing lost never appears again but mostly it “comes back”… Glad you found your glasses. (Suzanne)

    1. Thanks, Suzanne! If I could only just have faith that most of the things I lose or really need would eventually come back, life would be a lot less stressful. Glad to know that others share this experience!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s