The Real Price of Lost Things
This is Boo… A ten(ish) year old calico that’s been in our family for most of those ten(ish) years. In that time, she’s been out of the house twice. The first time was over five years ago and was resolved very quickly (we found her shaking under the neighbor’s stairs five feet from the window she jumped from). This last time was a different story, however.
I first knew she was gone a week ago when I opened a can of tuna and she didn’t come running. I can’t begin to explain how unusual this is. In fact, she’s usually underfoot whenever anyone is in the kitchen for any reason. A quick look around the apartment showed no signs of her, but we’re messy pack rats with a lot of prime hiding space available for a cat that doesn’t want to be bothered, so we let her have some more time. Once Thursday rolled around with not even a hint of Boo, we became pretty concerned. I started slowly scouring the neighborhood with a container of food, calling and shaking… calling and shaking. The sun set with no sign. I talked to neighbors who may have seen her late Wednesday afternoon out in the yard and another who, inexplicably, claimed to have seen her in the basement and assumed she was a stray, leaving the door open for her to get back out.
This went on for the rest of the week and through the weekend. I made up this boss flyer, hung it in local businesses and handed it out to everyone I came across. I put ads on Craigslist and various online pet finder boards. I plastered the flyer across Facebook and was a general nuisance about it. Then I went back to scouring the neighborhood. Call, shake… call, shake… I must have walked 20 miles looking for this cat. I searched through the basement, garages and storage rooms again and again and again… nothing.
The, Sunday night, I came home from playing an open mike in Providence to find her sitting halfway up the stairwell! She had started going a bit feral and had certainly lost some weight, but was otherwise remarkably clean. We had gone through a couple days of rain while she was gone, yet there wasn’t a speck of dirt or mud or dust or cobwebs or anything on her.
Had she been in the basement or storage room the whole time? I guess we’ll never know. All I do know is that we (the humans) were happy to have her back and that our other cat was dismayed over losing his new alpha status (the dust is still settling there).
So, that all makes for a nice anecdote, but what does it say about the cost of losing things? Consider the time I spent over 5 days of searching and posting and worrying (I didn’t even mention the number of times I stopped while walking by a window to scan the yard). We’re talking about hours and hours! That is time away from family, time away from maintaining the home, time robbed from working on projects, and a general lack of focus. True, a lost set of keys or wallet or a missing cell phone might not turn out to be as much of a life sucking experience as a lost pet, but there will still be the time searching them out. There’s also the distinct possibility of monetary cost should the item not turn up. And if you do lose something with critical information in it, be prepared for the hours of due diligence necessary to protect your identity.
Be careful out there.