How’s your inventory of unsolved mysteries? I’m not talking of suspense novels you started reading but that failed to hold your attention, or of difficult concepts you never managed to wrestle into submission. I’m thinking more of things that happened that made no sense, and that never gave you the chance to say, “well, it turns out that….” Or what about things that you lost and did not later find between the sofa cushions or under the passenger seat of the car? Those, too, can be mysteries.
My friend Cheryl once told me that she has long puzzled over what could possibly have happened to the bathing suit she left to dry on the shower rod at her in-laws’ home 30 years ago. I can’t believe that any of her sisters-in-law were covetous and made away with it–they’re too tall for it to have fit them. And pets can’t generally reach things hung over the shower rod. Like I said, a mystery.
Sometime in April the pepper mill disappeared. As I described here, our Spanish apartment was minimally supplied with furnishings and provisions–it really was possible to search the whole house if something was lost. But the pepper mill? I didn’t think I needed to go upstairs and pull the suitcases out from under the beds, or look to see if it was lurking behind books on Ninja’s bookshelf. How far does a pepper mill go?
I usually wanted it when I had a spoon in one hand stirring something on the stove, or when the family was settling down to make short work of the meal–not the moment to organize a search party. I’d give a quick glance to see if it was in the dry goods cupboard, or the drawer where we kept the other spices, or behind the crock with the whisk and the wooden spoons. No luck.
I did finally conduct a very thorough search of the kitchen (Is it down with the mop bucket and the rags? Up hiding behind the dishes? Behind the peanut stash?), but the result was only perplexity and incipient concern regarding the likelihood of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
At last, long after I had stopped either actively or idly wondering about its whereabouts, I found it in the side pocket of a tote bag. (!) I must have put it there one day when we took boiled eggs on a picnic to the Jardín Real, and subsequently neglected to do what I know I should always do after an outing: immediately put everything away. So for five weeks we had missed the pepper grinder, and in between searches I wondered whether it had fallen into the trash and been pitched by mistake. I’m fairly certain that when our children were young, more than one piece of flatware went out with the garbage, as dropping shiny things into containers is many a child’s idea of a good time. (If they didn’t go there, I can’t otherwise account for the dwindling of our supply.)
So that’s one mystery (belatedly) solved. I don’t think interrogating Cheryl’s sisters-in-law will bring up any new evidence in the case of the missing bathing suit–it’s officially in the “cold case” file. Now, have you got any little mysteries? I’m ready for some new material to puzzle over.