Owing to severe lack of focus I tend to lose anything that isn’t part of my actual body. I tell the ladies that I just have a canny asceticism, but it’s hard for me to maintain an air of wisdom when I’m locked outside my own house four times a week because I can’t remember where I put my key. This is why I keep a spare house key up in the rain gutter. The house is one of those modern designs, made primarily out of a single slab of some foamcrete-like material, so I suppose I could just walk through one of the walls if I pushed firmly enough. In any case, because it’s a slab structure there are no convenient crooks or crannies in which one might conceal a spare key, which is why I’ve taken to hiding it up in the rain gutter.
One drawback to stowing a key in the rain gutter is that getting it down is less than convenient. The stepladder lives in the shed, which in turn lives in the back yard. Factoring in the time it takes to clamber over the fence both ways, key retrieval is a good five minute undertaking. But inconvenience alone isn’t the problem. The problem is that once I’ve stowed the stepladder and return to my front door, the thought will inevitably occur to me: “What would it take to toss this key back up into the gutter?”
I know why I lose things. I think started losing my edge in my teens, not long after my stepfather installed an attic fan in our house. The man was too cheap to pay for proper air conditioning, but, ironically, procured from an old ex-aerospace buddy an attic fan roughly the size and strength of a hypersonic wind tunnel. Most males express mid-life crisis through showy, frivolous trifles. My stepfather fetishized household fixtures and appliances. Hammacher Schlemmer and Brookstone catalogs were his porn. And the attic fan was a particularly unfortunate way for him to exhibit machismo, because the condo we lived in wasn’t much larger than a gypsy caravan. The result is that whenever the fan screamed to life, every door in the house that wasn’t stopped by an anvil was sucked shut. Astronauts know better than to open their facemasks in the vacuum of space, and my stepfather could have learned something from that. The hotter the weather was, the more I could look forward to popped eardrums. By evening my head would be splitting, and I got so used to forcing my eustation tubes open that I must have been blowing brain circuitry by the fourth summer.