A few weeks ago I took the middle child out for a lunch date to Dundrum, preceded by a trip to Claire’s for some new hairbands. When I opened my phone cover to take out my Laser card, it wasn’t there. Nor was my parking ticket. I had a credit card in my wallet so could pay for the hairbands and lunch, but I was baffled by the mysterious disappearance from my phone cover. I slipped the other card into it and shook it.
“See?” I said to my nine-year-old, “there’s no way they could have fallen out.”
We retraced our steps, asking at tills in all the shops we’d visited, but nothing had been handed in. I went back to the car and searched it, but found nothing.
“It’s odd, but I do remember this woman bumping into me kind of weirdly,” I said after a while to my co-detective. “It sort of seemed deliberate…”
“But how would she get your card out of your phone?” asked my companion. “Wouldn’t you notice?”
“They’re very good at what they do,” I said, nodding knowingly, though I’ve never actually been pick-pocketed, so this knowledge is second-hand at best.
It reminded me of the time years ago on holiday in Kerry when my mum’s purse went missing. I recalled hearing noises outside the mobile home during the night, and the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that the noises had actually come from inside. In fact I was certain: we’d been burgled while we slept, in a remote campsite near Killarney.
The next day the purse turned up – my mum had left it on the roof of the car, it had fallen off, and someone had handed it in. Or is that really what happened, I wondered – maybe the burglar had second thoughts and handed it in. (In my defence, I was eight, and reading a lot of Famous Five books.)
Anyway, back to Dundrum. My card wasn’t handed in at Services, but then again, if the bumping woman had taken it, why would she hand it in? I left my name and number just in case, negotiated my way out without a parking ticket, and drove home to tell my husband I’d have to cancel my Laser card. Thirty seconds later, he found the card and the parking ticket down the side of the seat of the car.
“That’s because he’s a finder,” I told my nine-year-old. And it’s true – any time anything goes missing, he finds it. During the summer, I couldn’t watch TV for three days while he was in Barcelona because we lost the remote control. Even my dad, who had popped over one evening, helped search, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. My husband arrived in from Spain, and within five seconds, he found it. Being a finder is an extremely handy and under-recognised talent.
It’s our anniversary this weekend, and it struck me that in the fourteen years we’ve been married, he’s proven to be a good finder of all sorts of tangible and intangible objects – great campsites for holidays, concert tickets I thought were sold out, a missing necklace, a foolproof recipe for poached eggs, a dress you could only get in the States, emergency hospital supplies when our first baby arrived early, a coffee machine when I needed all the coffee, and my favourite cake after a tough day.
As I said to my nine-year-old after our trip to Dundrum, he’s a finder, and a keeper.