22 October 2013

secret squirrel

There’s no nice way to put this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it. I am a paranoid weirdo and I hate myself.

Okay, I don’t hate myself hate myself, but I am severely annoyed with myself and the unnecessary emotional rollercoaster I just forced myself to ride. Or, rather, the long and arduous journey on which I just embarked. The second metaphor is way funnier in the context of what happened, but don’t worry, you’ll be in on the joke that is my life soon enough.

Two days ago, it occurred to me that I had forgotten where I put my passport, and, being who I am, I began to worry. After all, what if there were some sort of emergency that would require me to travel out of the country? Of course, my worry doesn’t need such an extreme reason to manifest. I just wanted to relieve that horrible sinking feeling in my stomach and know that my passport was safe and accessible.

My fear was made ten thousand times worse when I considered all the possible moments during which my passport could have been misplaced. I moved out of my college dorm in May, then moved out of my childhood home later than same month. I also went to Alaska in August, and I could not for the life of me remember if I brought it with me (again, in case of an emergency that would require me to leave the country).

Naturally, I commenced tearing my room apart. I emptied my dresser and closet three times each, just in case it was hidden in the folds of a tshirt or a pair of jeans. I inverted every single purse I own, including all the various pockets and compartments. I did not find my passport in any of these places, but I did find an embarrassing amount of lip balm and candy.

At this point, it was well into the wee hours of the morning and I was starting to see spots, so I decided to lay my fitful head to rest with visions of paperwork and passport fees haunting my dreams.

The next day, I stopped playing around. I went through the boxes of random crap in my room that I hadn’t unpacked yet, including ones from college, on the off chance that it was simply tucked away. Mind you, I didn’t unpack these boxes. I just emptied them, sifted through the contents, then repacked them. I suppose I should have actually put things away, but I was lost in the moment. Anyway, it’s too late now. The panic-driven motivation is gone. The point is, I repeated this process at least four times before getting truly serious and lugging a gigantic box full of the contents of my dorm desk and bookshelf from the garage.

I sorted this box with the sort of meticulous obsession that only comes from full-on fear, going so far as to open each book and examine it leaf by leaf, before moving onto my binders, folders, and whatever other pieces of paper were sandwiched between volumes. As you can probably guess, my passport was not in this box.

During this whole ordeal, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was somewhere both obvious and convoluted, and that when (not if, not yet) I finally found it, I would be awash with equal parts relief and self-hatred. Turns out, I was not wrong.

As I was on my fifth or sixth cycle of unpacking and repacking boxes, I noticed that the table under which I was keeping them had a track on the underside where the legs folded under. “Huh,” I mused, “that track would be a great place to keep things hidden, like a secret squirrel or something.” I should probably clarify here that I meant that I would be the secret squirrel, and not that I would hide a secret squirrel under my table. Probably.

It was at this point I realized that my bedside table has an identical track on its underside.

I groaned and dearly hoped that it wasn’t so, but when I leaned over from where I was sitting to peer under the table, lo and behold, it was there. I spotted my passport, tucked innocently against the underside of my table. Mocking me in its black leather carrying case. I must have put it there because I was worried that it would get lost if I put it in a place with heavy traffic. And yes, with my passport, there it was. That practically tangible wave of equal parts relief and self-hatred.

After recovering from the litany of curses that exploded from my mouth, directed both at myself and my passport (but mostly at myself), I resigned myself to tidying up the mess I made. But, because of all the effort I expended over the past day, I could not be arsed to care enough to put everything away completely.

My room is still sort of a mess and I am still sort of a mess, but at least I know exactly where that damn passport is. The worst part of this entire matter, however, is that that hiding place is completely within my line of sight when I’m lying in bed.

On the bright side, I found my thesis and my bookshelf has books on it now. It only took twenty-four hours of blood-curdling anxiety to make it happen.


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