I turned my house upside down recently, and have the urge to share the experience with you. So don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before: Sometimes it is better to misplace things and forget about them than to remember years later and spend weeks looking. On the other hand, the artist Van Gogh did say, "If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost."
He may not have been speaking about looking for misplaced cell phones, but the idea is sound. To search for anything is to search for yourself. Or if it isn’t, I have been wasting my time.
Much has been made of the fact that you always find what you are looking for in the last place you look. Obviously. Why would you continue to look after you’ve found it?
Anyway, what I was looking for was an adaptor. One of those things that you fix onto something else and when the planets are in alignment this combination produces music. A small box, in fact, that cannot hide itself. Or so you might imagine.
But no, it can not only hide itself it can even move to a different room when you are looking for it. Also, I am convinced I heard electronic laughter as my search intensified and my language grew more purple.
If you are not careful, you could spend your whole life looking for what you have lost. I am not sure who said that; I can’t find the book it came from.
As the search progressed, it developed a religious intensity. I think all of us should spend a focused period of time every year looking for something we’ve lost. It is good for the soul. Also you find other things you didn’t know you once had or were unaware you had lost at some point.
Searching for things makes philosophers of us. You conclude that possessions are burdens. You swing between thinking everything is a waste of time, and deciding that there is nothing more important than finding an adaptor. You start composing lines for your gravestone: Here lies so-and-so/He didn’t do much in life/But he searched for his adaptor.
I found an old library book, now hopelessly overdue. I found a letter from someone asking for money to start a company named after a fruit. Orange or pear or jackfruit, I am not sure. Maybe apple. Something like that.
I discovered a skeleton that might have belonged to Napoleon. No, that last is an exaggeration; it wasn’t Napoleon although he was resting with a French accent. But of the adaptor there was no sign. No matter. I shall now search for my ipod and gain further self-knowledge.