Lost Objects, Old Friends

Once again it is summer. In this season, there are many important items to have on hand: sunscreen, water bottles, swimming trunks, hammocks, and so on and so forth. One of the most important objects to have during the long days of summer, though, is a good pair of sturdy sunglasses. A pair that can handle anything from being shoved ruthlessly into pockets to being dropped in the river. Not to mention the ability to prevent us with the photic sneeze reflex from sneezing whenever we are out in the bright summer sun. A pair of sunglasses can be an invaluable friend. Then again, I might only feel this way because last week I thought I had lost mine.

There are few feelings worse than the guilt and shame one feels upon losing something. Except maybe losing something you have had for a very long time. I have owned the same pair of sunglasses for more than eight years. Then, suddenly, they disappeared without a trace. I frantically searched my desk and my dresser, asked anyone I had been around if they had seen them, and tried in vain to retrace my steps. My sunglasses were nowhere to be found.

I always thought, because I had them for so long, if I ever lost my sunglasses it would be in some significant way. They could have been ripped off my face by a mountain lion or destroyed in a terrible explosion, or perhaps freely given to a person who needed them more than I. Instead, it was like they just got up and walked away on their own accord.

I lamented their loss, not because they are an irreplaceable object. A pair of sunglasses can be bought at any gas station or grocery store. Rather, I was sad because I felt like I had lost an old friend, left abandoned in some terrible location waiting to return to a home that will never be seen again.

Some people might call this attachment to objects materialistic. I prefer, “sentimental.” I’m sure there are thousands of pairs of sunglasses just like the ones I lost. Of all those, though, only one pair was mine. The thought of someone else finding them on the street and wearing them, or even worse, throwing them away makes me cringe.

When I was a kid and lost something, I would throw a little fit, as kids (and adults) are prone to do. When I did, my dad would always tell me, “It will be in the last place you look.” This statement is true only when you keep looking until you find what was lost. But this time I had given up on finding my wayward shades. In my mind I committed them to the abyss of watches and pocketknives and all the other significant objects I have lost over the years, never to return.

In the funny way the world works sometimes, my hope was restored just as I was turning to sorrow and despair. My sunglasses were in my brother’s car the whole time. They were returned to me, and now I can face the blinding, bright sun with confidence. The only problem is, I am so afraid of going through the whole ordeal again, I’d almost rather just leave my sunglasses at home than risk losing them again.