Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mummy Search

Comedian Jon Richardson says the world divides into two sorts of people - leavers and putters.

Leavers say 'Where did I leave my car keys?' They then have to search. Putters go to where they always put their car-keys on returning home and miraculously find their keys there every time.

I am a putter but last week I lost the church emergency phone. It wasn't where I always leave it.

But I want to discuss the concept of search. How hard have you looked when you say you have looked?

Parents are all aware of children explaining they've lost things. They will say they have looked everywhere and the universal parental response is, 'So if I come into your room I won't be able to find it either.' Cue last minute checking to avoid the opprobrium of a parent finding the lost thing too easily.

My friend Ruth of this parish calls this a 'Mummy search'. All reports of lost things by her children would only become her business if a Mummy search had already been undertaken.

In our household this was called a 'Daddy search' for a couple of reasons. Firstly Mummy was often the person doing the searching for her own property with children helping, or without if it was they who had been mislaid. Secondly because, after a day alone with two lively boys aged two and four, I often came home from work to have to search for Mummy (cowering in the wardrobe with the gin bottle the favourite place).

I did a Mummy search for the lost phone, twice, with a sleep between the two.

My friend Bob, not of this parish, thinks differently. The paragraph could easily end there but I'll plough on. He invites those who have lost things to think like a golf ball.

We used to run a holiday for teenagers every year on a public school site which had its own golf course. At the end of the let we had to pay for lost golf balls and so we sent a small team onto the golf course to find balls. We encouraged them to think like a golf ball. Where would it hide if it wanted not to be seen?

After three years of this we no longer had to hire balls for we had found enough to have our own stock.

I searched thinking like a mobile phone, twice, with a sleep between the two. Recalling it was a phone and could be contacted I rang it, twice, with a sleep between the two. The call went straight to voicemail. Since I never put such a divert on the phone it was clear evidence that it had been abducted.

I fessed up and my colleagues embarked on the annoying and long-winded process of cancelling it and replacing it. This included contacting a previous administrator to ask what the account password was, working out how to change the church office out of hours message and identifying and calling the account provider. I already think I have helped us become better organised.

But I think you know what happened next.

This morning (seven days on) I opened the car glove compartment. This glove box had been previously searched twice including removing all its contents, for Mummys and Daddys know that modern technological design has made phones thin enough to slip between two pieces of car user manual. Thinking like a phone you would also imagine that a car glovebox was a safe place to be.

And there, right in the middle of the box, in clear sight, in a place it had not been during the previous two searches, was the missing, now cancelled, phone.

It was still charged (just) and although showing no service provider there was no evidence of any locks or diverts.

Sometimes there are genuine wormholes. No other explanation. Unless, of course, the phone was caught up in in the glovebox mechanism until jolted out.

Life. No way could I eat a whole one. Instead of an emergency phone which causes more problems when lost than when phoned I am publishing my mobile number.

Some of this piece may be true.

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