Saturday, February 14, 2009

I choo choo choose you (and there's a picture of a train)

Today, in honor of Valentine's Day, a story of two halves of a larger whole that wouldn't stay parted:

Last night, after a cycling odyssey that took me to three different venues in three different neighborhoods, I came home to discover I'd lost an earring.

Not just any earring, but one of my favorites. Part of a pair I bought myself just a few weeks ago as a reward for the new job. They were handmade right here in Chicago and weren't cheap. But more importantly, I loved them. I try not to covet material objects, but I'd made an exception for these.

And now, one half of the pair was gone. I checked the collar of my coat, shook out my scarf, searched the hood of my sweater, walked the basement in bare feet. Because of course it couldn't have gone far. But nothing. And suddenly this wasn't just a lost earring anymore; it was further evidence (especially after losing one of my favorite biking gloves the day before) that I just didn't have my shit together anymore.

John begged me just to let it go. "Come on," he said, "these things happen." But I felt hopelessly sad and strangely driven. So at 11:45, we bundled ourselves up, broke out the bikes, and made our way back to the bar. I brushed the snow away from the ground near the rack where my bike had been parked. Nothing. I headed inside and the sympathetic barkeep shined his flashlight all around his paying customers. Empty counter. Empty floor.

Crushed (but not surprised), I headed back out the revolving door into the cold. And there, unmolested, close enough to my foot that I almost stepped on it, going a quarter rotation with each turn of the door, its tiny-ness defying the very enormity of the universe that might have held it, was my earring.

Now I know true happiness is supposed to be reserved for things like babies being born or finding your soulmate. But I'm not sure there's anything quite as heady as having something you thought was gone for good suddenly and unexpectedly resurface.

So I submit (with apologies): A tiny Valentine to all, and to all a good find.


Rosemary said...

It's a Valentine's Day miracle!

Seriously, having lost my share of single earrings, I can relate to your grief and your joy. This is why I went out and bought a whole mess of those little plastic guards to slide onto all my fishhok-type earrings, to avert future tragedies.

And thanks for the reference to one of my very, very favorite _Simpsons_ lines *ever* (second only to "Gross, but strangely compelling").

leslie said...

"...its tiny-ness defying the very enormity of the universe that might have held it..."

I think you just nailed the very definition of happiness. That's beautiful.

Christy said...

Retelling this anecdote this weekend led to two similarly amazing stories: a friend's mother, after looking in vain for the stone that had fallen out of her engagement ring, found it in the tread of her shoe. And John once found someone's contact lens in a sandbox!

tracy said...

An excellent story!

Diana Sudyka said...

Oh I love stories like this, especially since I have several earrings that have been lost in similar fashion. I would like to think I'll be this lucky and stumble across one gleaming grass in my back yard. More likely, its sitting in the stomach of one of the crazy a*sed squirrels around here.

How happy you must have been! What a lovely moment.

Rosemary said...

I think the phrase "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack" needs to be updated to "It's like looking for a contact lens in a sandbox." Wow! John clearly has some pretty good eyesight himself!

tracy said...

I remember losing a contact lens on the dance floor once, and someone found miught have been John, actually. But it also might have been Kris Harris.