Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tissue Box

For all my efforts in trying to keep this closet of a living space nice and clean and without clutter, I’m still occasionally misplacing things. Which drives me bonkers, because I really have no excuse now. This place is too small to misplace something. I can see where everything is the second I walk in the door, that’s how small it is.

But Ethel the car. Ohhhhhhhh, Ethel the car. I never misplace Ethel herself, but as she has grown older, all the little crevices where things can slip and fall have multiplied, like wrinkles on a grandmommy’s face or something.

Last Sunday, I lost a parking ticket to a hotel parking lot where I was visiting my mom and my dad as they were coming back through Los Angeles after their cruise. It was dark in the parking lot, and I had very little interior light to search the car with, and I promptly burst into tears, to which the disgusted parking attendant sternly told me to stop it, it’s okay, “Life too short!” he said with a frown as he opened the gate and let me go through without having to pay the $59 lost parking ticket fee.

I get so frustrated with myself because it feels like misplacing things is a sign of a life not in control, and we all know how I feel about getting my life under control. That’s one of the things I love about living by myself, everything is under control. Mostly. My purse, my wallet, tries to be free of clutter as much as possible, though there was the one time over New Year’s Weekend where I misplaced the Up In The Air tickets when Xavier and I were going to see the movie. I couldn’t believe I couldn’t find the tickets in my wallet where I put them, and nearly pitched a fit in front of Xavier, of all people, before finally locating them. But it’s just another lesson about how EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE NEAT AND ORDERLY AT ALL TIMES OR ELSE YOU ARE A DUMBASS.

Which is why I sagged in despair when I couldn’t find my emerald ring on Friday morning. When I take my rings off, I usually put them in my purse, on the off chance an earthquake hits and I don’t have a lot of time to grab stuff before hitting the door. The rings are safe in the purse, no earthquake would be big enough to knock them out of the purse. That’s the thinking, anyway.

So I get to work on Friday morning, and dig through my purse for my rings. The aquamarine one was there, but the emerald one wasn’t. I turned the purse upside down, once again berating myself for whatever junk, crumpled up tissues, receipts that should’ve been filed already, is in there that shouldn’t be

But the emerald is definitely not in the purse, not even when I force myself to wait five minutes and look again, knowing full well how panic can cloud my vision. I know I had the rings on yesterday, I always wear them every day. I even remember taking them off and putting them in the purse, because I wasn’t feeling well, exacerbated by cocktail hour with Pepe and Pembleton and their human owners.

But the ring is not here, and it hasn’t fallen out of the purse onto the floor of the office. I make one of the clenched jaw promises to not obsess about it until I get home, thinking it’s probably on the floor.

I get home after work, and carefully look around the table and carpet before trucking in my stuff, so as not to displace it further. But it’s not there. I carefully truck in my stuff, and make a thorough search of Ethel, it’s not there. I do find the hotel parking ticket from last week’s debacle, but that’s not what I’m looking for. And maybe that’s supposed to be some sign: things do turn up eventually, you’re just blind at night. But that thought doesn’t comfort me much either.

So I search the purse again, my closet apartment again. The car again. Where did it go? I would believe in the Void Of Lost Things except I just found the parking ticket from last week. So where’s my f’ing ring?

I don’t have the energy to get angry. The constant battle with the universe these past three months, whether it’s over lost tickets, lost rings, fighting plagiarist bloggers or fighting false insurance claims (someone claimed I hit their car on January 8th when I was eating sushi in Burbank and have the receipt to prove it. Case is closed, claim denied, thank you very much), is just wearing me down. Yes, I have fun times here and there, and it’s a Godsend to live alone, but it strangely doesn’t give me the recharging energy I need to fight the good fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bus hit me soon, I don’t have the energy to get out of the way.

I liked that ring. My parents gave it to me as a surprise when we were taking a family vacation in the Bahamas. It’s not too big, not too small. It’s just right, and I’ve been wearing it since I was 17 or something. Irresponsible people lose things like this. I am not irresponsible.

Because this is too much like the parable of the Woman and Her Coin. Let me go do a keyword search: ah, here we go, Luke 15 verse 8 – 10.

The Parable of the Lost Coin
8"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Except that seems really arrogant – comparing my lost ring to a repentant sinner entering the Kingdom of God.

I’m not feeling great, so I sit back on the couch and send up a prayer to God please help me. Where is it? Where’s my ring?

I close my eyes, and the phrase hits me:

Tissue box.

I open my eyes, and the pink purple box of Puffs that sits on top of a magazine on the coffee table is right in front of me. See, look at how clean and uncluttered that table is? Do you see how annoyed I was that I couldn’t find the ring? It wasn’t buried in clutter because there WAS no clutter.

I grab the Puffs, and shake it around.

Rattle rattle.

Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously?

I turn it upside down, and there’s the emerald ring.

Holy crap.

See, I don’t call it a tissue box. I call it Puffs, or box of Kleenex, or whatever. I DON’T call it a tissue box. But that’s the phrase that hit me. Which must mean it came from--

I instantly send up a Thank you God.

And because He’s obviously listening right now, I start asking him important questions. Will You heal my friend with cancer? Will You answer the prayers of my friends who’ve been trying for a baby for eight years? Will You take care of my friends who’re on the verge of bankruptcy because they haven’t sold a script in a year and are about to lose their house?

And no answer.

You’ll send a hint as to where my ring is, but You won’t tell me what You’re gonna do with my friends who have REAL issues? You can have the ring back if you’ll answer their prayers.

No answer.

Part of me wants to snark well THANKS! THAT’S JUST GREAT! Because I am a petulant ungrateful bitch.

I don’t understand how God works. All the prayers I lift up to Him, all the times I’m asking Him to please help me, help my friends, help us, help us all. I know He always hears me, but He rarely sends any kind of answer and THIS is the one time He chooses to say hello?

I don’t understand why God calls it a tissue box. Maybe he doesn’t wanna show partiality to a particular brand.

But I’m choosing to believe this is just the beginning of a miraculous string of prayers. Because now I’ve lost my voice, thanks to being sick. And He can TOTALLY have that, I will figure out how to hold down a job, I’ll do my best Holly Hunter walking around with a notepad around my f’ing neck in The Piano if He’ll just help my friends. Please. Please.