I keep losing things. I’ve always been one of those people that are always looking for their keys, their wallet, their pens, watches, or a magazine they just had in their hand but now seem to have misplaced somewhere.
As a kid, I had the home key in a hockey skate lace around my neck, and still managed to leave it at home often enough to become friends with the scary Mrs Hellgren who had the master key. Once I lost my wallet at my uncle’s place, must have dropped it on their yard somewhere, and the entire family with my cousins and aunts and uncles had to come out and look for it. After hours of search, we gave up, but the next morning, my aunt found it in a bush. How it had gotten there, I have no idea.
So yes, I am now one of those people who stand next to a car, giving themselves the pat-down, looking all the more desperate with every new attempt to find whatever it is they’re looking for.
Just a few months ago, Wife and I and Daughter went for a short walk, killing time between a birthday party Son was attending and another party Daughter was going to, and as we got back to our car, I couldn’t find the key anywhere.
“But I must have had it when we went for the walk because, for one, I always lock the doors, it’s a reflex,” I told Wife, who then opened the car door, and said cheerfully:
“Hey, a lucky break, the doors were open.”
I still don’t understand how that was possible, because I always do lock the doors. Anyway, the doors were open, so maybe I had left the key in the ignition. Nope. Then it must be in my pocket.
“Aaah, there’s a hole in my pocket. The key’s probably in here somewhere,” I told Wife, as I took off my brown leather jacket. I had switched jackets just second before heading out, having decided that the cool fall day called for a cool fall look.
But no key anywhere. I walked back up the road, with my eyes on the road, looking for a black, plastic thing, kicking leaves, tracing back my every step.
“And then I hopped here, and Daughter went for the swings…,” I muttered, hopping and walking in circles.
I came back angry and frustrated, sad and embarrassed.
Wife was standing next to the car, in the shape of a question mark – literally – and I just shook my head, and bit my lip. She came over to me and asked me to stay by the car, while she would trace back our track and go look for the key.
I had complete faith in her. She always finds things that I lose, but I decided to look busy and look for the key closer to the car. For example, underneath it, and in the trunk.
Because, maybe, as I got out of the car – and locked the doors – and walked after Wife and Daughter, I had accidentally thrown it in the trunk. But I hadn’t.
Wife came back. No key.
“I even looked at all the bulletin boards, thinking that maybe somebody had found it and put it up there,” she said.
She’s Swedish so that was a very rational thing to say and think.
Now all I could hear was Son’s voice in my head: “A true Pakarinen never gives up!” He only says that when it concerns eating a full bowl of ice cream, but it encouraged me to take another crack at finding the key.
I took to scientific methods. I found a key, about the same size, shape, and weight as the key, and slipped it in my pocket, the one with the hole. My goal was to see if a) I would notice when the stone falls to the ground and b) if it would drop right next to the car key.
“And then I hopped here, and Daughter went for the swings…”
I could still feel the rock in my jacket pocket.
“And then I ran here, and then I jumped on that bench,” I said, because really, I had jumped on he bench.
“Didn’t I then jump up and down here?” I asked myself, and jumped up and down, even though I hadn’t really done that on our first walk out there.
I heard a sound. As if a rock had hit the ground. Finally!
I looked down, and there it was. The rock had fallen through the hole in my pocket. But there was no car key next to it. I walked back to the car, cursing myself for being such a slob.
Not only had I lost our car key, but I had also lost our only car key. The first one had disappeared a year earlier when Dad was visiting us, helping us fix the house. He had it and maybe he gave it to me, maybe he didn’t. Maybe he left it on the porch, maybe he threw it in his bag.
Even though it’s useless now, with the new locks and all, I’m still trying to find it.
A true Pakarinen never gives up. He may lose a lot of things, but never hope.