For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble holding onto things. It started with my tendency to divest myself of glasses, coats, hats and countless items of little-girl jewelry when I was a child in New York City.
As a teen and a young woman, I picked up various nicknames that mocked me for this well-known failing, including “Lorraine Featherbrain” and of course “The Absent-Minded Professor.” My best friend during my 20s, Cliff, once told me that his boyfriend sometimes referred to me as “Deranged Feather,” but I think that was about something else. During that period (18-28) I changed apartments 10 times, and was on the road for a couple of years total, so I think I should be forgiven for losing more possessions than usual. The ones I felt the worst about were a fuchsia-colored suede maxi coat with snaps—it really did fit me to a T—and an antique stereopticon with many accompanying cards, given to me by one of the dressers in Jesus Christ, Superstar.
I’ve had extraordinarily good luck when it comes to having important stuff returned to me. I’ve dropped keys in a huge parking lot and retrieved them in short order because someone turned them in to the front counter at Kinko’s. Once, when I was loading up my car with plants at a nursery near our house in NorCal, I left my wallet on the roof of my car. That night, I got a call from a guy who had seen my wallet and credit cards splattered all over Highway 92. He pulled over, ran out and picked everything up, and returned it to me with not one thing missing. I brought him a gift basket, I forget of what.
I haven’t lost wallet, keys or phone in recent years, though I often think I’ve lost my keys. Once I called my husband Tony to tell him I was in the Marriott parking lot next to my rental car, and was about to miss my plane because my car keys were nowhere to be found in purse, backpack or hotel room.
“You probably threw them in your suitcase when you were packing,” said Tony. “Open it up and shake out your clothes.” Yep. I have, however, parted ways with several pairs of JVC noise-canceling headphones since moving to the San Juans in 2007 and making so many all-day trips to LA. I never get the Bose headphones because they’re expensive and deserve the respect of a lifetime commitment. But … maybe if I bought those I’d magically develop the ability to hold onto them forever, do you think? Tip: Most airports carry Skull Candy earbuds, just in case one leaves a set dangling out of one’s purse until the inevitable happens.
I wrote a song for my album The Body Remembers—and reprised it in acoustic form on Language—called “Where Are My Keys?” Tony Morales and Terry Sampson provided the music. Cheryl Bentyne has sung it live.