I’ve often spoken fondly of “my” ghost, Robert, whom I met when living in Los Angeles. I always liked Robert. He was/is the most pleasant and least intimidating of ghosts, who loves classical music and has a particular fondness for bedrooms. I even saw him once, reflected in a window, walking across the room behind me.
Robert takes great delight in hiding things. Not just hiding them, but removing them from plain sight. Something would be there one minute, and gone the next, not to resurface for days, weeks, or months. The classic example, which I always cite, was when a friend stopped by on his way home from the grocery store. He set his bag on my kitchen table, with a carton of cigarettes clearly visible at the top of the bag. When he returned to the kitchen to pick up his groceries, the carton of cigarettes was gone. There was no one in the house but him and me.
Then there was the jar of pennies I kept atop a kitchen counter. One day it was there, the next day it wasn’t. And then, several weeks later, it was. I sort of gave up wondering where missing things had gone. Chances are they would show up either exactly where I’d last seen them or at the back of the top shelf in a kitchen cabinet, or somewhere equally illogical.
When my mom came to visit the Christmas after my dad died, I was telling her about Robert. She smiled one of her “if you say so” smiles, and said, “I don’t believe in ghosts.” And the minute she said it, three ornaments fell off the Christmas tree. He later paid her a visit one night. She said she woke up knowing someone was in the room and merely said, “Go away, Robert,” and he did.
I really missed Robert when I left L.A., but he would make occasional visits over the years. But since I’ve moved to Chicago, nothing. Until today.
When I bought my laptop, I found the little “mouse pad,” which requires moving the mouse around by squiggling the tip of the index finger across the “pad” a gigantic annoyance. So I bought an external mouse with a retractable cord which works fine. Then, two weeks ago, as I was getting ready to come to “work” at the shopping center information desk, I disconnected the mouse and distinctly recall putting the power plug and the computer into the carrying case. When I got to work, I could not find the mouse. I searched every inch of the case four times, then because I could not specifically recall having put the mouse in the case, assumed I’d left it at home.
Got home, no mouse. Not on the computer desk where I’d disconnected it, not on any countertop, not in any drawer, not on the floor, not in the refrigerator. Nowhere. No mouse. Tried using the laptop without it, with the totally predictable result. Finally ran out and bought another mouse with a retractable cable.
Today, on my way to work, I packed my computer into its carrying case, making sure I consciously picked up the mouse and put it in the special pocket into which I always put it. And as I did so, I felt something else at the bottom of the pouch. Would you care to guess what it was? Yep. It was NOT there any of the four times I’d searched the case the day it disappeared, nor any of the subsequent times I’d put the computer, mouse, and power cord into the case. But there it was.
Welcome back, Robert.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com: