A short time after my husband and I started to live together, I got a phone call from him at the university where I was teaching, saying that he was stuck in the apartment because he couldn’t find his keys, and had I accidentally taken them with me. No, I said, and suggested several places where he might look
I was teaching late that night and by the time I got home about 9:30, the keys had not been found, and Peter was climbing up the walls in a near panic of claustrophobia. “I’ll help you look,” I said and started to go through the pockets of his jacket. “Don’t look there,” he said; “I already did and they aren’t there.”
Well, I looked there anyway, and found them.
Now it was just a plain pocket. Not a fancy one with velcro or buttons or a zipper or a hidden compartment. It was just a plain pocket, with nothing else in it, and I couldn’t imagine how anybody could actually look in it and not find something as substantial as a set of keys. You may understand why I thought I could find things better than he could.
That was before we began to go into grocery stores together. Over the years, we have been in grocery stores, big and small, on four different continents, and in more countries than I can count. Peter’s parents ran a grocery story when he was growing up and he spent a lot of time stacking shelves and making deliveries. To this day he not only sees things on shelves I miss completely. He stands at the store entrance of a completely strange store and has a sense of where to go to get whatever it is we want.
It happened again yesterday. I was looking for unsalted French butter and couldn’t find it. Peter didn’t even have to try. He just walked over to the shelf and put the butter in our cart.
But just in case I still harboured the illusion that I can always find things better than he can, he found the key fob to my car that I’d lost more than a year ago and that had cost me $200 to replace.
At least it wasn’t in my pocket.
But it was under the car seat.