Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where Lost Things Go

It had been there. I put it underwater, beneath the fluffy and grease hungry suds.

And it vanished.

I saw its brother bowl sitting in the dish strainer. He looked lonely and bothered. Maybe he was thinking, “He’ll soon be here. I’m covered.” But my hands which fished under the dishwater had bad news. No lid. No cap. No cover.

Guess I'll have to buy more cling wrap, I thought.

So I stood over the sink wondering where lost bowl lids go. Certainly physics doesn’t disappear when a sink is filled with dirty dishes. Maybe this is the new math, I thought. Maybe when ‘x’ amount of hot water is added to ‘x’ amount of soap, then ‘x’ number of bowl lids dissolve. I sighed with relief that my hands weren’t made by Rubbermaid.

And the missing lids made me wonder about socks. Socks which were once a pair become divorced by the simple act of washing them. Once, I remember counting all the socks I put in the washing machine, counting them again when they were transferred into the dryer. Then just like the moisture, a sock would disappear. Sometimes more than one escaped. Could there be a rip in the space time continuum Maytag?

An investigation was warranted. I let out the dishwater, grabbed a flashlight, and explored the pipe. No trace. I went under the sink and looked for holes. No holes. No lids.

I took the flashlight upstairs to explore the dryer. I shined the light inside, and I expected to find nothing. I shined it back and forth, and before long I noticed a slight shimmering. A shimmering? I didn’t order any shimmering when I bought my dryer. Indeed, I remember telling the nice fellow at Lowe’s that I wanted a shimmerless dryer. And he looked at me with one of those looks that you often find at the DMV where you make a joke and you’re countered with a blank stare. Kind of like the stare you’re giving me now.

But there it was, this shimmering thingy. I grabbed a toilet plunger (that was clean), and I poked the handle into the shimmer. The tip vanished. I pushed the handle in further, and the rest of the handle disappeared.

When I felt the tug, I was shocked. Shocked as in I was alarmed my dryer had someone or something on the other side. And that someone or something on the other side of this shimmering thingy was reacting to my prod with a pull. The dryer and I were playing tug of war with a toilet plunger. I let go of the plunger, and it flew into the dryer and through the shimmering void.

This was disconcerting.

You're probably thinking I should have called the Maytag repairman. After all, Maytag repairman do little more than make TV commercials all day. And I’m sure those Maytag men have a lot more experience with shimmering dryer drums than I do. But I didn’t call the repairman. Which was a mistake.

I reached my hand inside the dryer and poked at the shimmer. My finger disappeared. Then my wrist. Then my forearm. And just as I was marveling at how this must appear to those uninitiated with the fine art of dryer exploration, my arm was tugged. But I didn’t feel a hand grabbing my arm. It was more like a force, and not like the one Luke found so handy in a galaxy far, far away. My arm was being sucked in.

When you’re being assaulted by a major appliance, the only thought that comes to mind is “I’m being assaulted by a major appliance. Was there an expiration date on the vodka?” No, the vodka was fresh. Was I dreaming? Nope, not dreaming.

My shoulder had reached the threshold of the shimmer, and for once, I was glad I had stopped eating overly fatty food and chocolate. Till that point, I had reluctantly given up humungous hamburgers and overly caloric candy bars. I missed them both. And no amount of salad could replace a Kit Kat bar. But since I stopped eating the bad stuff, I lost weight. And losing weight meant I was thinner, which was a good thing. The inevitable was about to happen, and it soon did.

My entire body was pulled through the dryer.

Have you ever been sucked through a jet engine? Neither have I, but I imagine the experience was a lot like what happened to me, sans the shredding. I was whooshed into a blackness which soon turned into a festival of lights, much like being surrounded by a bunch of Windows screen savers. I knew I was moving at a pretty fast clip, and it felt like I was flying for an eternity. And when I landed with a thud, I discovered eternity had an end.

I sat there on the ground, or whatever it was, and I looked around. Socks. Lids. Car keys. Glasses. Earrings. Pen caps. Wallets.

I had found the land of lost things, and I was lost with them. Lovely.

I heard something make a noise. I noticed some of the nearby items lifting themselves above the ground and forming a ‘body.’ I say ‘body’ because it had arms and legs, a torso and a head. And, oddly, it wore glasses. What a sight.

It walked toward me with a gait more akin to inebriation than walking. But even with its weird and spastic movements, all of the items that comprised its body stuck to the body like glue. Which is when I noticed that part of the body contained adhesive tape and little containers of Elmer’s glue.

“I am Sockaglassylidearring Pentop,” it said. The voice sounded dry and hoarse. Had it lost its voice? “You can call me Steve.”

“Steve,” I said, marveling that I was talking to a heap of discarded consumer goods, “I am Warren. You can call me perplexed.”

“Welcome, Perplexed.”

I wanted to correct it, but thought better of it.

“Where am I?” I asked instead.

“This is the planet… This is, uh. We call this the planet, uh..”

“Memory loss?”

“No, that’s not it,” it said. “I know I wrote it down somewhere.” It proceeded to peel off different post-it notes that were stuck on its body.

“I’m sure it will come to you,” I said. “Can you tell me how to get home?”

It ignored me.

“Home,” I said again. “I was at home before I came here. Home in my dryer.”

More ignoring. I felt I had discovered where DMV employees come from.

I pried my gaze away from it, and I started looking around me. A few yards away I saw my toilet plunger. Beside the plunger was a carpet of loose playing cards. All of them were the 4 of diamonds. That explained a lot.

At this point, the author lost his train of thought. If you find it, please let me know. And be sure to check the dryer.



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