Monday, April 28, 2008

Calculations of Living Alone

Saturday I went to do my bills, so I gathered up the checkbook, a pen, and went to grab my calculator off my desk...

But the calculator wasn't there. It wasn't in the spot on my desk where I always put it after I'm done using it. I looked all around my desk. Not there. I often use the calculator on the coffee table in front of the couch while I watch TV. So I checked around the coffee table, under the cushions of the couch, underneath the couch. I checked the kitchen table, in the kitchen, the bedroom, the second bedroom. I even went into the bathroom, wondering if perhaps I took it in there to do some calculating on the john. I didn't, and no, that's not something I usually do.

The calculator was AWOL. My old, crappy calculator was on my desk, but the new one was missing. I could have just used the old one, but this wasn't really about calculating. It was a mystery: Where the hell did the calculator go?

You must understand something about me. I don't lose things. I have certain places in my house where things belong, and I always put them back after I use them. I know some people who spend 30% of their adult life looking for their keys. I am not one of those people. I never have to look for my keys, because I always put them in the same place as soon as I walk through the door.

So that's why I was going crazy about the calculator. Where did it go? I know the cats sometimes play with things and swat them behind the bookcase, but a calculator is too big to be a cat toy. Plus, I checked underneath everything. It wasn't there.

When I lived with Rebecca, every once in a while I would notice a pen missing. After a short interrogation, she would crumble under the pressure and admit that she had the pen in her purse or in her office. But since I live alone now, and Rebecca gave me her key to the apartment the week before, I couldn't blame the disappearance on her.

Or could I? My obsessive compulsive behavior gave way to my paranoia. Did she make a copy of the key and then come in while I wasn't at home to take my calculator? Why would she do that? That would be completely out of character. I know some maintenance workers were in my apartment the day before-- did they take my calculator? Just to fuck with me? What a bizarre theory.

But where is the damn calculator? I felt like I was going insane. Sometimes, I'll be absentminded and I'll leave a pen in the bathroom or my tennis headband in the kitchen, but I'll notice it immediately and put it back where it belongs. But in this case, I had scoured the whole apartment twice and couldn't find the calculator. This is it, I thought. I've finally cracked.

There are times in my life when I need to just Let It Go. I get obsessed with something, whatever it is, and I need to forget about it and figure it out later. So I decided to forgo doing the bills for a while. Either the calculator would turn up or it wouldn't. I'll find it when I stop looking. I went to sit down on the couch and watch TV.

Then I saw it. Laying on the back of the couch, against the camouflage of a patterned blanket, just chillaxin' with the cover open, as if it didn't have a care in the world, was my calculator. It must have been there for several days and I never noticed it. Huh. Mystery solved.

I guess I'm not crazy after all. Just hopelessly neurotic.

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