Wednesday, November 3, 2010

And everything in its place …

How many times did we hear it growing up?   “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”  A friend of mine had a mom with a slightly different saying, but same sentiment: If you put it away this time, you’ll know where to find it next time.  That same friend made sure he always had a dishwasher in the kitchen.  He told me it was because he couldn’t stand the sight of dishes lying around, clean or dirty, but, personally, I think it was just so he knew where he would always find his dishes.
I don’t know if my daughter ever heard that from me when growing up, though I wouldn’t doubt it, as it is incumbent upon all mothers to pass on such gems to their offspring, but I have good reason to perhaps believe that she did not hear it quite so often in her formative years, if at all, and here’s the reason why.
Now, I do have a place for everything, sort of.  You couldn’t tell it by looking at my office but, really, I do.  Unfortunately, the place for everything seems to all be in the same place.  Be that as it may, I am, if nothing else, a creature of habit.  And for good reason:  I lose everything and can never remember where I’ve left it!  Therefore, once I do find a place to call home for an item, I make it a habit to always (hopefully always) put it back there.  Now, keys are a good example. I have a little key rack on the wall next to the front door.  The first rung is for keys that I have no idea what they belong to, the second rung is for car keys, the third for the mail box key (that one’s easy to find as it’s attached to a Pound Puppy key ring), and then come the pool keys and another set of miscellaneous ones that someday I’ll figure out what they belong to, maybe.  Sometimes, however, when I’m walking in with my arms full of groceries, the keys don’t quite make it to the key rack.  And that’s when the trouble starts.  The other day I was rushing to get to work and got all my gear together, ready to leave the house, when I went to grab for my keys on the key rack and, behold, they were not there!!!  I’d been shopping the night before, so, after checking the pocket on my purse, I ran to the kitchen to see if they’d been left on the kitchen counter, then I ran upstairs to see if they were in the office at my desk, then back down to see if they were in another pocket of my purse, then back upstairs to see if they were on my dresser, or in my jacket pocket or in my bathroom, then downstairs to see if they were in that bathroom, or on the table in the living room where I study. Then when you can’t find them, you start all over again, only this time I start with the car, just in case!  Well, after making the whole circuit a second time, I finally turned on the hall light and there they were, about a foot away from where they belonged.  They had almost made it to the key rack.  Again, I really must use the lights more often.
I used to lose my glasses all the time, but often found them on top of my head.  Now, however, since I am relegated to wearing them all the time, they are harder to lose.  My teeth are another story!  I hate those little suckers.  There are just enough of them to make them not totally necessary but cosmetically preferable.  I take them out, however, whenever I get the opportunity and pop them back in when I have to.  That makes finding a “place” for them a little harder since I’m never in the same place all the time when I decide to give them a little break and enjoy freedom for myself.
I know of people who change purses as frequently as they change underwear, maybe even more frequently.  Even my 90-year-old mother changes purses on a regular basis!  I, however, being a real creature of habit, but only leather purses so that they can last at least 10-20 years so I never have to change them.  I mean, once you find a place for things in your purse, you want to keep up that impetus and not break that habit.  When I do buy a new purse, I have to find one as close to the same design as the last one that I had.  Hopefully after 10-20 years that style has recycled and is back in.  It’s getting harder, however.  This year I had to buy two purses just to get one that was close to the old one!  And then it doesn’t have the same zipper thingy on the front where my keys usually go, so now I have to go through four different compartments trying to find them, fishing around in the pockets and often getting “bit” by my teeth who are hiding out in one of them.  Those little metal prongs on those partials are nasty little things, you know.  I will next have to keep Band Aids in my purse for the boo-boos I get fishing out keys.
Pens in my house are NOT a problem.  I keep about 50 or so in every room.  But my car, ah, that’s the really big things that I lose.
To me all cars look alike.  Okay, I can tell a Volkswagen bug from an SUV and a white one from a black one, but that’s where the identification stops.  That’s why when I go anywhere, I try always to park in the same place, or as close as possible to that habitual spot.  It’s not just that I won’t remember WHERE I parked otherwise, it’s because I cannot tell my car from every other one in the parking lot!  I parked at the LJV Coliseum last summer for an assembly.  I had with me a friend, so I wasn’t thinking about WHERE we parked; besides, you don’t really have the choice of parking in a “habitual” spot at the coliseum.  Well, it wasn’t the first time I’d lost my car in that lot, and it probably won’t be the last, but what made this time so unique is that my friend remembered distinctly the number of the aisle and said in Spanish (and I’ll spell it phonetically so you can appreciate my confusion) “DOO-BL­Ā B.”  So, we started walking looking for aisle BB.  We walked around the entire coliseum three times looking for that aisle and, thank goodness, we never found it.  Well, we might have found it at one time, I can’t remember any more, but I think I did recognize that it was on the wrong side of the coliseum and did not bother searching through all the adjacent aisles looking for my car which I can only identify by its tag number.  After about an hour I suddenly realized that my gringo/Mexican accent and her Dominican accent had one thing very different:  She pronounces her Vs with a B sound.  Like, duh!  Hello!!  Wish I’d thought about that an hour before.  Anyway, we found aisle VV and the car and made it home in good shape, ready to lose it yet another day.
I’ve had a lot of problems lately getting my key to turn in both the door lock and the ignition.  I think the key is just getting worn out.  The other day I came out of Food Lion and put the key in the door and jiggled it.  My car is easier to find now that the paint has started disappearing and the roof looks really sad.  But I started getting nervous when I had to keep jiggling it without success, thinking, oh, no, this is the day it will leave me stranded, not only incapable of starting the car but not even opening the door.  Then I looked down at the passenger seat.  There was a cute pink notebook there.  I don’t own a cute pink notebook.  But I’m sure I parked here, I thought.  Then I looked around to find my car on the opposite side of the one I was trying to open.  Oops!
So I propose that some inventive soul PLEASE develop a device that will track all my lost items.  It should be a remote control type device that will track down by code different items.  After all, you don’t want to be looking for your car and have it beeping instead your cell phone.  Oh, I almost forgot about the cell phone!  I no longer have a home phone.  Do you know how difficult it is to track down your cell when you don’t have another phone at hand with which to call it?  And then you only hope that you will find it before it runs out of juice or you’ll have to go out and buy a new one and hope you can keep track of that one. 
So my idea is tohave small programmable computer chips that will go into all the various devices you keep losing, each chip having a unique code that can be input into the remote and will thus beep just that particular item.  Of course you’ll have to remember the codes or at least remember where you put them, but I think if you code things by importance it could stay in your memory, unless you lose a whole lot of things and need about 30 chips.  Of course there are things with intuitive numbers, like the licence plate numbers could be for my car, the last 4 digits of my cell number could be for my phone, the number of teeth in my partiail -- well, you get the idea.  But then when you start putting them in order of imporance you have to decide, well, which do I need more, the remote control to the TV or the key to the mailbox, my shoes or my teacup, my hairbrush or my bank book.  Yeah, better write them down and put a chip on the paper; perhaps that should be the one with the #001 code on it.

I think we should call it the Digital Universal Memory Implant system (or DUMI for short).  Now I know that I could get a remote key lock for the car to alleviate the problem I had when I lost it at the airport and after searching three floors of the car park garage finally called the security guard to drive me around, stopping at every dark colored vehicle so I could see the plate number, only to discover that it was on the very first floor right next to the elevator!  I knew I was close to that elevator!  At least I was almost sure I was.  That’s why on each floor I started there and walked up and down every single aisle, working my way out to the edges before going down (or up) to the next floor, only stopping when I finally found a way of calling Security.  The DUMI could have found it immediately, thus eliminating that moment of embarrassment when she found my car within one minute by deductive reasoning.  Of course I’d already done the legwork.  I’d walked all over the other three decks.  Then she comes along and says, well, why don’t we start at the bottom since you haven’t been there.  Duh again! We only had to stop three times for me to read license plates before we found it.
Anyway, I’ll leave this development of that gadget to the more nerdy people I know, like my daughter or my brother, or even my mom the way she’s picking up computer techniques.  As for me, I’ll just reap the benefits of all their efforts and, hopefully, they’ll let me have one for free to “test drive.”  Then all my worries will be over!  I’ll never lose anything ever again!
Now, where is that DUMI remote?  I can’t find my teeth again!