Thoreau as a finder of things

Beck

ThoreauThis, or a variation of it, happens to me all of the time.

I bought a new phone. It’s an Apple 8 or whatnot, my first iPhone ever. I open it up and start trying to figure out whatever needs to be done. Invariably, I get interrupted. A couple days later, I’m back trying to set it up. But the iPhone apparently wants some settings on my old Android phone. And, of course, I can’t find it anymore.

Then my wife comes home. She’s been to the farmer’s market. She doesn’t have enough cash, and the vendor doesn’t take credit cards or checks, But he does take Venmo. She doesn’t have Venmo, but I do, on my old phone, naturally. After she tells me she needs to make this payment, I redouble my efforts. Not in the backpack or in any drawers or in some clothing in the hamper. After an hour, I give up.

The Albany Public Library had a book sale the previous weekend, which I worked at. I bought a few items, one of which was a CD called Best of Beck. This is by Jeff Beck, not the other guy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t open it, because the plastic encasement was locked. Alas, a dollar wasted.

Wait, I’m going to try to liberate the disc without destroying it. Using a couple of pairs of scissors, I succeed. I need to put the CD in a new case. Fortunately, I have a bunch of empties. I go to that drawer. Sitting right next to that dresser, in the bay window, is my damn Android phone.

It always happens

This happens a LOT to me. When I stop looking for something – total surrender – I often find it. There is a saying attributed to Henry David Thoreau that goes, “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will evade you.” But why is it always inanimate objects for me? it’s most often keys because I have an irrational disdain for them.

But it is also true that “if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.” Though the woods are never the same. Or wherever.

Remembering the accouterments

Technology doesn’t always work for me the way I understand it’s supposed to.


The day after our work trip to Syracuse in April, a remarkable thing happened. I brought my keys, my wallet, my cellphone, one of my Amazon Fire tablets, and my work identification to work. That had not happened in so long I do not recall when. Then it happened again on Thursday, June 1.

Usually, I know where my keys are, unless the Daughter has borrowed them, or they’re in a pair of pants that have ended up in the laundry. Still, it’s a good thing we have a spare house key.

Generally, I bring my wallet, though occasionally it’ll be in the OTHER coat. Loose change in the backpack, or an emergency credit card in the mail drawer, can be a salvation.

I like carrying one of my tablets to check emails and play games. I remember more than half the time. In fact, I now have TWO tablets because I misplaced one for a couple weeks, and then the other, eventually discovered in the clutter we’ve been tackling.

Incidentally, one of them, the 8, as opposed to the 7, can be charged for hours, but it will only show as 1% charged. I can then use it for quite a while before it really IS at 1%, then at 0%, and it shuts down.

There was a recent report that more people are living without a landline. That won’t include me for some time, unless, like the folks in Illinois might be, I’m forced to give it up.

It seems that either my cell is MIA, or it has zero juice. The other thing I’ve noticed is that my cellphone does NOT work well in my own house. When I call the phone company to get the landline fixed, I usually have to use it on the front porch.

But I seem most resistant to the ID. That definitely DID go through the washing machine, because my badge has a bit of of a psychedelic look. Moreover, almost every time I use the thing, I sing, “Let me see your ID.”

My parents used to call me the “absent-minded professor,” so I assure you that this is not a function of age. It’s just how my mind works, or occasionally, fails to.

As noted, technology doesn’t always work for me the way I understand it’s supposed to.

A friend of mine was visiting a friend in London, when two guys on a scooter snatched her phone out of hand as she was happily gesturing and chatting with her friend. Beyond feeling sad for her, it points to my distrust of becoming dependent on any device too much.

I made a tactical error on a trip to New Paltz, my old college town, recently. We were rushing to leave Albany, but I was short on cash. The Daughter’s phone says there’s a branch of my bank within a store in town, but when I get there, the store ownership has changed. It’s essentially the same establishment, with a different name, but no longer even an ATM. Fortunately there was another option only a couple miles away, but still…

The technologically bashful Arthur recognizes that all his new technology is a product of his great good fortune. So I reckon I oughtn’t to kvetch about my techno stress too much.

The bain of my existence: keys and locks…

That missing key chain also has my home rear door house key, the car key, the fob to get me onto the third floor of my work building, and, notably, apparently the remaining key to the shed.

Sunday, December 15, while we were cleaning off/digging out the car – we have on-street parking, and the snowplows know how to pack in vehicles – I gave my set of keys to The Daughter so that she could open the shed and get her snowboard. She says she gave the keys to The Wife, who doesn’t recall that action, but that is inconclusive. Regardless, I didn’t have any keys, except my spare key to the front door, and one other.

This was particularly annoying because I don’t really need help losing my keys; I’m actually expert at misplacing them on my own. I had to see here to know how I could rectify that habit. The one other “key” I did have isn’t really a key at all, but rather a swiper card to get into the rear door of my work building at Corporate (frickin’) Woods Continue reading “The bain of my existence: keys and locks…”

K is for Keys

Music touches on a few aspects of the word key.


I have become fascinated with the word key. It’s a short word, worth 10 points in Scrabble, but it has so many meanings. Reference.com shows some four dozen definitions. And while some are interlocking, most of them address some sort of structure.

There is that metal thing that moves a bolt that I tend to hate because I tend to misplace it. I have a couple duplicates of my house keys, one outside the structure – no, it’s not under the mat – just in case. Someone told me a long time ago that the number of keys one has related to how important they were. The most important person I ever knew, by that definition, was my elementary school janitor.

Then there’s “something that affords a means of access”, such as the key to happiness. The word shows up at least a half dozen times in the Bible in this context Continue reading “K is for Keys”