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Hiding in plain sight


Yesterday, I needed a tape measure so I could cut a hole in my new bookcase to accommodate an electrical outlet.

Unfortunately, several of my tools have mysteriously disappeared, including my drill and the two or three hard-cased tape measures that are always sitting on the same shelf in the garage.

I imagine they'll turn up sooner or later. But in the meantime, I knew that I had two of those soft plastic tapes for tailors and sewing (one yellow, one white), and that both of them were coiled up on my desk by my computer.

But they weren't in the spot where I expected them to be. I knew that one of them had been on top of a plastic container holding a stack of blank CDs, but I couldn't find that either. I dug through one pile of papers. I dug through another pile of papers. I moved stuff around. I accidentally dumped some papers on the floor.

Finally, I gave up and decided to use some less-precise measurement system, like my hands.

And then I saw the white tailor tape on the floor, where it had fallen with the papers.

Not sure how I missed it; it must've been right where I was looking for it. But no harm done, I went and did the measurements.

Just now, I went to my closet and got some socks, and turned back toward my desk. And there, on the corner of my desk, in very plain view, a quarter inch from the iPhone dock that I moved while I was looking, actually touching the credit cards that I moved while I was looking, about a foot from the specific place I had thought the tape measures were. . .

. . . is the plastic case holding the blank CDs. And, on top of it, coiled up, the yellow plastic tape measure.

It's right there. I must have touched the CD container while I was looking for it. There was nothing on top of it, nothing obscuring it. The plastic case is a cylinder about 4" high and about 5" in diameter. It's the tallest thing on that corner of the desk, by a couple of inches. There's an empty Advil bottle on top of it, raising the height and visibility by another 2+ inches.

I have missed many obvious things in my day, but this may be the most obvious thing I've ever missed.

So I've got a theory. It could be--never mind. I think gnomes must have stolen the CD container and the measuring tape yesterday, perhaps in order to measure something for nefarious but ultimately unknowable gnomic purposes. (Presumably they needed the CD container as something to stand on--gnomes are pretty short.) Then last night while I was asleep, they crept back into my room and put back the container and the tape measure, carefully replacing the thin layer of dust that had covered it before.

Either that or the tape measure and the drill were off at a party together when I was looking for them yesterday. Maybe I should check the shelf where the drill usually lives again this morning and see if it's back.


Clearly the work of brownies; you need to leave cream out for them as a thanks for returning it. In the future, when things are missing, it's a good idea to leave out cream as a bribe to get them to return it.

I lived in an apartment in Cleveland for 6 months without ever noticing that there was a microwave in the living room. Somehow my brain just could not absorb the presence of a microwave in any room other than the kitchen.

Two things:

1. Jed may remember that I recently asked for help because I could not get a link to work on a comment I wrote for his journal. Thanks to Jed, I actually know the syntax to create a link; I have used it hundreds of times on my own journal. So I re-read my syntax in the comment maybe 10 or 15 times and then gave up and told Jed that his journal must be broken because I had typed everything correctly. Of course, as Jed quickly told me, I had quatation marks in the wrong spot.

2. My wife's family has some friends that live in a town near Salt Lake City in a giant house. After maybe about four years, they discovered a hidden room. This was not a little 10" X 9" bedroom...it was roughly a 15" X 20" extra living room that they had totally missed. The entrance to the room was somewhat hidden and the house was built a bit into the side of a hill, so it was not obvious. But still...four years!

Just in case, do you or any of your readers know where our corkscrew is?


Look in the drawer, V.

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