LOST: Have you seen my…

For this week’s Friday Five, the increasingly well-organized transitus asks:

Philip Gulley writes: “Sometimes we lose things before we??re done needing them. ” What are five things you lost before you were done needing them?

Oh, there have been so many things. Let’s see:

  • My desire to really, truly learn French. Something stupid happened, and working at the company I was at, I kind of lost the desire to really, truly learn French. Maybe if I’d needed it to navigate a relationship with a woman, I might have tried harder, but I never had a French-Canadian girlfriend and nearly all my good friends were fluent in English or at least much better than I was in French (nearly, Christine, nearly, and Jean-Louis was a great translator!), so the desire to learn just kind of petered out.

    Or maybe it just went down to a low ebb, like the one my study of Korean is at now… I’m trying, but’s hard to climb out of such a trough.

  • The freedom offered me by my last holiday. It was over before I knew it, and I’d written a novel but I hadn’t done much else that I’d intended to do. And then, suddenly, it was time to start the spring semester.
  • My copy of Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome. I had it in Iksan, and I think my ex-roommate put it somewhere it so he would remember to read it before I moved, but when I arrived in Jeonju, it seems he still had it. I wouldn’t mind having lost it after having read it, but I had not yet gotten to the book! And what’s worse, I haven’t noticed any copies in shops since the day I bought it. Ah well… I’ll find one someday. Waiting for it is far preferable to making contact with that guy.
  • The manuscript for the original theatrical music I wrote to accompany the play Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot. It seems that it got lost somewhere in the mail. Too bad, because I spent a month composing it and it was never heard. It was written for six voices, but when they tried to learn it—it was all hardassed Renaissance-like polyphony—they found it far too difficult, and so I wrote semi-improv plainsong for them to sing/make-up-on-the-spot instead. I would have liked to adapt the manuscript for string sextet, and was going to make it a project sometime in my mid-thirties to really make a go of it and adapt it properly, but now I believe it’s lost and I shall never recover it. And I’ve been away from composition so long that I believe I couldn’t write a piece of music that complex again. Ah well!
  • My copy of Massive Attack’s Mezzanine album. Well, I could actually make a really long list of lost music: LPs that simply disappeared in the post (along with many books and personal papers). Tapes that were loaned out and never returned. CDs that somehow magically disappeared with no sensible explanation. The Mezzanine disc is, again, another example of the latter category. I have no idea where it went. I suspect I may have possibly loaned it to someone, but nobody’s returned it, so I long ago declared it Missing in Action and ripped a friend’s copy.

A runner-up would be about six of my socks. A certain roommate I had in the past seemed to decide that if I ever left socks in the machine by accident, he should hang them and then take them into his own sock drawer. I don’t know if he was really just that sloppy, and I’d like to think it was just that, but one time I remember him organizing a sock exchange with me. Now, yes, I had some of his socks. Some of our socks looked exactly the same, and maybe the guy thought I was stealing his socks. But really, I wasn’t… I thought they were singles of mine, matching the ones that disappeared. But while I was always just stuffing socks into my drawer and matching them as I needed them, the other guy was matching his carefully and leaving the extras to the side. So anyway, one day he arranged a sock exchange with me, and you would not believe: it was ever so vaguely reminiscent of an exchange of hostages! He wanted to see my extras first, and I think at some point we even argued about whose socks were these grey ones. “They’re expensive mountain-hiking socks! They’re mine!”

Uh, okay. But they looked like my cheapo Teacher’s-Day Present socks.

You know, when you are arguing with someone about socks, and he says anything with as much passion as that, there’s been enough of a breakdown in communication that you’ll never be able to live with him again. You’ll never even be able to take him seriously again, really.

At least I can laugh about it now. If you’d like to laugh at what other Friday Fivers have lost, check out the links in the sidebar.

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