The Scene: Bedtime. I am already in bed, teeth brushed and all. Jon, who can go for hours without eating, decides that he needs a snack.
Him: (from downstairs) Where did you put the leftover rice pudding?
Her: It’s in the fridge, on the second shelf, on the right, at the back.
Him: No, it’s not.
Her: Yes, it is, Darling. On the second shelf, on the right, at the back.
Him: No it’s not.
(I’ll spare you the repetitions, which alter only in volume)
Him: Could you come down and find it for me?
Her: Okay. (discouraged tone)
Her: See — on the second shelf on the right at the back? (tone which mixes superiority and annoyance in equal measures.
Him: Oh. I didn’t recognize it. (light tone)
We all know that such a scene takes place in thousands of homes throughout the country, regardless of timezones, family income, or gender preference. One person in every pair-bond arbitrarily designates the other as the official Finder. And that’s that. It’s a permanent position, as far as I can tell.
Now, if you think it’s no big deal to find something you carefully put away yourself, even if that does entail climbing out of flannelette sheets, remind yourself that existence of every gruntled Finder presupposes a Loser in active practice. At the moment we have every tool from our basement workshop distributed throughout the rest of the house, which rings with “Have you seen my__________?”
My darling is a card-carrying Loser.
Let me be clear. These searches for objects I have not actually stored carefully take a hell of a lot longer. What’s worse, they are often time-sensitive or all progress grinds to a stop. Sometimes I enlist a flashlight to catch a tell-tale metallic glint but nothing really works except picking up every single thing but the piano and checking under it. I’m a hearty eater and I now wonder if the only thing which keeps my weight under control is the constancy of high-pressure search-and-rescue operations around here. Theodore has shown no interest in being handed the baton so Finder I shall be until one of us dies. On the plus side, I do find items I myself have misplaced. Last week produced a vase I had been looking for, 6 unmatched socks to add to my collection, 3 gloves of different colours and four dark chocolate bars. Chocolate is a great consolation when seeking does not lead to finding.
But take heart, fellow Finders. As long as we have this job for life, let us choose to train our veteran Finder Brains on searching for things that spark joy -- the gorgeous signed Inuit carving that winked at me in Value Village or the Haida copper and suede-lined humidor that showed up in a neighbourhood garage sale. (Painters, take particular note: it takes a veteran Finder to come up with the odds and sods which populate a still life. I am particularly fond of Rusty, my tin frog in the bottom right corner. [I Oh, gotta go. It's okay, Dear -- let me help you find the....]).