Essays

To Lose or Not Lose, That Is The Question

I was chatting with a friend (we’ll call her Stacia) yesterday and she brought up a great topic of conversation, which was this… when does a person concede that they’ve actually lost something. When do we mentally go from saying something is just misplaced to saying that we’ve lost it for good.
We talked about this for awhile, giving each other personal examples of “misplaced” or “lost” item scenarios and then we came to what we realized was the crux of the whole thing. We determined that it really came down to the fact that a persons positon on this was a good indicator of personality. And, I’ll tell you why… because neither of us are the type of people, with the type of personality, who are willing to actually concede something is gone for good. It’s not in us. We both are the type of people who feel that if we’ve misplaced something it’s just that, misplaced. We always know the item is there… somewhere. And when we’re looking later, it’s not lost, we just can’t find it. It’s how we’re made.

The talk went on for a time, us agreeing with each other, and then Stan came in. So… we asked him if he ever admitted to himself that he’d actually lost something. And he said yes, he does admit that to himself. He said his determining factor was whether or not he actually had to replace the missing item. If he had to replace it, it became lost. If he was still in the process of looking for something then it was just misplaced. Neither of us agreed with him.
Stan went on to try and support his position, but Stacia and I still couldn’t agree with him and I gave two examples to support what I was trying to convey. The first was the time I was fishing with some friends and the fly reel on my fishing pole got dropped, accidentally, into the river. It slipped between two rocks in the rushing water and we were unable to recover it. Even though we couldn’t recover it, I would still say it’s not lost. I knew exactly where it was, and probably still is… it’s in the river, between those two rocks. If I went there today, I’d bet it’s still there. Therefore it’s not lost, whose actual dictionary.com meaning is, “ no longer to be found “. I can find it, I know where it is, I just can’t retrieve it. The other example I used was the time I left a pair of sunglasses in the women’s restroom at Disneyland. Almost immediately I realized what I’d done and I went back in to get them and, you guessed it, they were gone. I don’t view them as lost, I view them as stolen. They were taken from me. In my mind, it’s a different thing entirely.
Stan, who was listening to my examples, and a few that Stacia brought up, conceded that theft was not losing something, it was theft. However, he said that he would consider my reel lost because he’d have to go out and buy a new one. To which I replied that even though I had to go get a new one, I knew where the old one was, and so, you guessed it… not lost.
All of this dialogue sort of proves the point Stacia and I came to, which is that it’s a matter of personality. Are you a person who lets stuff go, in a way sort of conceding defeat, or are you a person who never gives up, believing at some point an item will, eventually, will turn up.
Ultimately I guess what this all means is that, given my penchant for refusing to lose, I’m carrying all this possibility around inside… the possibility of finding something I once had, but have misplaced. There’s hope in that, along with some stubbornness, or maybe just some sort of ridiculous folly. But, that’s me. And, apparently, that’s Stacia. Both stubborn, both unwilling to concede, both sure that somewhere, out there, are all the things we can’t find, but still have. All the things that are, mysteriously, tucked and hidden away. All the things we haven’t lost.

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