There was a volume of stories that sat on the same shelf as our family’s set of encyclopedias. I can’t remember if they were from the same publisher as the encyclopedias, Collier, or not. There were seven bound books, all a different color, and the volumes were categorized some way I can’t remember, but the volumes were called something such as “In The Air,” etc.
There are only a few stories in there I remember, even vaguely, as my favorites. One was called “Soap.” It was about a young lad whose mother sent him off to the store for some (dramatic pause) soap. As he is on his way to get the soap, in order to not forget what he’s supposed to buy, he says, “Soap, soap, soap, soap,” as he walks.
While I don’t remember the details, the gist of the story is that the young lad gets interrupted by people he meets or things that happen along the route, and he forgets what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s KNOWS he’s supposed to going somewhere to get something, but it’s gone from his brain. He knew that when he was standing in one place, he knew what he was going to do, and then at another place, he know longer knew, so he paced back and forth, saying, “Had it here, lost it there. Had it here, lost it there.”
I think the story ends happily with him remembering what his errand was, and perhaps he completes it and returns home, albeit much later than his mother would have liked.
The part of the story I’m relating to today is that I have lost my keys.
Last night, I came home from work, went into the apartment, and went back out to go lift weights in our little fitness area. I recall my wallet and keys being in the gym with me. When I left, I didn’t have to use my keys to get into the apartment because Josef was home so the door was unlocked.
This morning, I was fully ready to go, my son was fully ready to go, and NO KEYS.
Tore the house apart looking. Called Josef. Retraced steps. Left a voicemail with apartment office. Ran to office (where fitness room is) to see if I could either find keys or lost and found. No dice, but the maintenance manager was able to give me a temporary set of keys. And I found my valet key for my car so I could at least get to work.
In the fitness room is where my keys were the last time I know I had them. So now, I feel like the boy in “Soap,” where I’m thinking of the space and time between “had them at gym, realized I’d lost them this morning. Had them at the gym, realized I’d lost them this morning.” No amount of pacing or digging has helped them turn up yet. It’s pretty frustrating!
But, I know I will either find them or get lots of new keys. This issue isn’t without solutions. I have this weird feeling Josef will find them or the apartment complex office will find them. I’m somehow remaining calm even though it’s meant spending a lot of time seeking and trying to find them.
I feel this way about a lot of problems, like they will work themselves out no matter how much fretting I do. For the most part, I think this is how I live life. It’s pretty passive, though, and I need to be more active in solving the lingering problems in my life. I think I tend to minimize issues, too, thinking to myself if I make a big deal out of something that turns out to be nothing, then I will feel foolish, cause unnecessary alarm, appear to be seeking attention I don’t know that I want, etc. Just like I’ve struggled with naming emotions, meeting deadlines, and letting things slip through the cracks, I now realize I’ve failed to recognize crises in relationships: not showing affection, not reaching out, not clearing the air, etc.
It all makes me feel like a dumb kid, sent on an errand to buy some soap.
Thanks for reading.