Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Case of the Disappearing Glasses

This post is, perhaps, a little off-topic for a blog about ecofrugal living, but it was too good a story not to share.

A little background: we're in the middle of a cold snap here. Not just normal January cold, but really cold. Last night it was down to 6 degrees; now it's up to a balmy 19 (but the wind chill brings it down to about 7). In weather like this, you just don't want to take a shower and walk around with wet hair unless you have to.

So this morning, I decided I'd skip the shower and just wash my face. I went into the bathroom, took off my hat and glasses, fetched my face wash and wash cloth out of the shower, and cleaned up as best I could. Then I applied a little coconut oil (which I've taken to using in the morning as a moisturizer), put everything away, put my hat back on, and went to pick up my glasses.

They were gone.

I felt in the pockets of my bathrobe, which is where I usually put them when I take a shower. Nothing. I felt in the pockets of the sweat pants I had on underneath, thinking maybe I slipped them in there instead. Nothing. I hunted around the bathroom as best I could, examining the sink, toilet, and medicine chest with my nose about three inches from the surface (which is about as far as I can see without my glasses). No sign of them. I looked in the basket that holds the books on top of the toilet, in the drawers under the sink, in the shower, even in the linen closet, though I was positive I hadn't put them in there. The glasses had just vanished into thin air.

Since I knew I wouldn't get far trying to look for them without being able to see, I went into the bedroom and retrieved my old pair of glasses, which I'd held onto in case this pair broke. With their help, I scouted out the bedroom. My glasses weren't in any of the places I'd normally leave them; they weren't on the dresser or on the nightstand, and they hadn't fallen into any of the dresser or nightstand drawers. Next, I checked the office, the last place I remembered being before going to wash my face. They weren't on my desk, nor on Brian's desk, nor hidden among the papers in my in-basket. I checked the kitchen: not in my purse, not in the pockets of my coat, not on any visible surface. No sign of them in the guest room or the living room—not that there would be, since I hadn't even been in those rooms.

This was completely baffling. Those glasses were off my face for less than five minutes. How on earth had they disappeared so completely? The only explanations I could think of were a poultergeist or an incredibly stealthy burglar with very peculiar tastes.

As a last-ditch effort, I went back to the office and started typing an e-mail to Brian, asking if he could think of anyplace else to look. I started recounting the story, just as I've done here, and I was suddenly struck by a point right near the beginning. Go ahead and look back at the first paragraph and see if you can find it.

I patted my head—and I felt a lump inside my hat. The same hat that I'd taken off while I washed my face, and put on again straight afterward. And the minute I felt it, I remembered that I'd put the glasses in my hat to keep them nice and safe—and then once I put the hat back on, the glasses were nowhere to be seen. :-)

Thinking it over, I realize that this story does have an ecofrugal moral of sorts. No, it's not "Always remember exactly where you put everything," because I know that's a perfectly useless piece of advice. (I'm an intelligent person with an exceptional memory, and I had literally no idea where those glasses had gone.) The useful advice is, "Always keep a backup of anything you literally can't function without." This morning's incident was baffling and frustrating, but without that extra pair of glasses to wear while I hunted, it would have been absolutely nerve-wracking. I would have been pretty much half-functional the whole time—and if the glasses hadn't turned up, I would have stayed half-functional until I could get my hands on a new pair.
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