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Smell the Coffee: Lost and found

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "It's not an 'annoying habit,'" my husband insisted. "You should try to see it more as a charming tradition. Maybe an endearing little eccentricity."

"Searching for the remote two or three times every night isn't charming," I said.

"It's something you and I get to do together," Geoff said. "Just the two of us."

A fan of togetherness I might be, but most of the search parties sent out for missing items in our house have only one member -- me.

Geoff and Celeste are both quick to declare defeat if the object they're looking for isn't found right away. For them, defeat merely means involving me in the hunt. They're both totally fine with that part of the process, while I'm convinced their inability to find something on their own is directly related to how comfortable I happen to be at the time of their search.

The most frustrating part is that nine times out of 10, the item is exactly where I told them to look.

Like many women, I keep a running inventory of certain household items. If I see a pair of eyeglasses where they don't belong, the location is logged in my brain. If I notice a jacket slung over the back of a chair rather than left by the door, I take note. Some female friends I talked with say they do the same, yet in each of their households, a similar scenario is replayed on a regular basis.

He: "I can't find my keys."

She: "They're in the dish on the hall table."

He: "They're not here."

She (after lifting the mail that was on top of the keys that were in the dish on the hall table): "Here."

My husband insists women are simply better than men at finding lost items, as though our female parts function as some sort of homing device, an internal GPS unit that directs us toward random possessions.

If one accepts that women are more adept at finding lost items than men, the next question would be at what age in a female's life does the tracking device roar to life? I can say without hesitation that, at least in our house, the age isn't 14. If there were only one T-shirt hanging in my daughter's closet, I suspect she'd be incapable of finding it without my assistance.

I will never understand how the world's greatest detectives have been men. It seems impossible to me that in a crime scene filled with myriad items, a man could locate the sliver of toothpick with enough DNA to indict. Especially when that same man can't find the eyeglasses he put on top of his head.

Mom says a man's ability to find things is directly related to whether or not his wife is nearby (or reachable by phone).

I read there's scientific reasoning behind men's inability to find what they're looking for, claiming that men look for a shape, while women look for an object. Females pay attention to all details of an object, but men quickly assess a situation and issue their response. (Their response usually starts with, "Honey, do you know where ... .")

Whatever the reason for the disparity, if my man keeps losing his marbles, his woman could end up losing her mind.

Reach Karin Fuller at karinfuller@gmail.com.


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