A while ago, I was in the Chambers Street subway station waiting to board an uptown express train when I noticed this sorry site of a pair of sunglasses lying on the concrete platform floor.
I figured that Someone Somewhere would soon be exiting the station at their final destination, enter the glare of sunny daylight, reach for their missing shades and would soon be searching their pockets or satchel at that very moment, wondering:
Someone Somewhere: Where are my sunglasses? What’d I do with them? I know I was wearing them when I entered at Chambers Street …
My train arrived, I didn’t pick up the lost shades, nor did I hear Big Foot Bozo step on them, but I figured that was likely. Or possibly someone might kick them into the tracks accidentally or intentionally. Those shades, once valued by Someone Somewhere were now toast and their final destination was probably a landfill. Of course, looking around my apartment as I write this post I suppose everything in my humble abode will eventually end up in a giant trash pile, too. If my demise is remotely natural, my carcass will meet its end in the crematorium, and my ashes will be distributed evenly – one third by the Upper West Side’s Fairway Market (good food), one third by Film Forum (good film) and one third by the Public Theater (good plays). It’s so much more emotionally satisfying to knowingly unload one’s possessions and self at will rather than suffer that sick feeling in the pit of one’s being and wonder:
Me (wondering): Hey, what did I do with my [keys, gloves, American Express card, New York Film Festival ticket, umbrella, one hundred dollar bill from my dad, that phone number, lip balm, pen, mind]?
The follow-up phrase I always think as I perform that futile pat-down on myself:
Me: I know I just had it right here!
Then, there’s the moment of sick recollection:
Me (recalling): Did my keys fall out of my pocket when I impulsively slipped into that screening of Hairspray when no one was looking?
Answer: They sure did, and that multiplex’s kind lady in Lost and Found had them. My unusual French key fob was quite a topic of cheerful monologue with her, but all I was thinking about was lying through my teeth about losing my ticket stub should she ask me to produce one. She didn’t. It is very likely that when she asked:
Lost & Found Lady: Are these keys on this cute unique key chain yours?
And I gushed:
Me: Oh, I lost my ticket stub, too. Yes, those are my keys!
She thought I was spastic.
Recovering my keys in response to my being a movie-going cheat that day was a rare and lucky break. Most of the time when I’ve lost something, even if I have a solid clue about what happened to it, I know like Someone Somewhere’s lost shades, that item is a goner and no amount of certainty that I still have it in my possession will bring it back. Suck it up to fate and replace it.