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Small, pink hippo. "I'm not missing, but my blue elephant buddy is." January 15, 2011.

Small, pink hippo. "I'm not missing, but my blue elephant buddy is." January 15, 2011.

This evening, maybe an hour and 24 minutes ago, I was on my hands and knees on the basement floor, a floor that’s cement and more than a little bit dirty. What was I doing in such a ridiculous position? I was looking for a tennis ball and having a hissy fit because I couldn’t find it.

When it comes to lost things, my typical reaction is anxiety-bordering-on-panic and anger until I find said lost thing. If said thing decides to remain unfound for an extended period of time, woe be to anyone around. (Normally my poor husband and children.)

I can’t explain why I have this reaction, which is just as strong whether the unfound item is important (keys, pocketbook) or inconsequential (the dog’s tennis ball). I do know the reaction goes back to my youth and is worse when I have just seen an item and it goes missing. If something is lost, but I never had any idea where it was located in the first place, the panic does not overtake me.

When my search for a lost thing is unsuccessful, I have to force myself to stop searching and let it go, which is not easy. I’ll catch myself continuing the search for days and weeks after the initial loss.

Currently, I’m looking for a small, blue, stuffed elephant that the dog used to play with. He lost it weeks (months?) ago. I would assume he had eaten it, except he has a pink hippo about the same size that disappeared at the same time as the elephant. I found the hippo stuffed into the couch. If the dog had eaten the elephant, it stands to reason he would have eaten the hippo, too. Besides, there was no evidence of small, blue elephant parts in his poo.

Green sock. "Have you seen my mate?" January 15, 2011.

Green sock. "Have you seen my mate?" January 15, 2011.

I’m also on the lookout for a green sock and, now, the tennis ball. I have no clues as to the disappearance of the green sock, although the mate is pining away in my sock drawer. The tennis ball bounced down the basement stairs after I threw it down the hall for the dog. He watched it go and I watched him watching it go. I have scoured every portion of the basement room it bounced into, plus the room next to it. Nothing.

Mind, these are not huge rooms, so where it could be hiding is beyond me. Actually, where any of these three things could be hiding is beyond me. They seem to have vanished from the universe, which calls to mind an old Twilight Zone episode about men running ahead of us, quickly building whatever shows up in the next minute. When we can’t find something in the present moment, it’s because these minute builders forgot to put it in its place. Darn minute builders!

There’s supposed to be a saint that helps people find lost things. He is St. Anthony and he is to be invoked by a poem whenever needed. Of course, by the time I think to call on St. Anthony for assistance, I can’t remember the poem and end up saying something like, “St. Anthony, you’d better find this effin’ thing for me! Now!” He’s lucky if he gets an “Amen.”

I prefer my father-in-law’s method of finding things. He says, “It’ll be in the last place you look.” If only I could figure out the last place first, I’d be golden.

How do you feel when you lose something? If you get upset, how do you calm yourself down? What methods do you use in locating lost things?

Btw, it was only when I mentally started writing a blog post about the lost tennis ball that  the panicky feeling subsided.