I hate to waste time. I keep my curly hair short so that, after my morning shower, it can dry on my head without my having to use a dryer. I don't carry a handbag because I dislike having to lug one everywhere. And I have one favorite pair of earrings--heavy gold shrimp hoops--that I pretty much wear every day.
Unfortunately, I also live with a kleptomanic--a three-year-old cat named Bob--who loves shiny things. A common sight in my house is Bob rushing down the hallway with something in his mouth: the top of a pen, a button or--one memorable day--my computer's jump drive.
For that reason, whenever I take off my gold hoops, I put them high on a bookshelf to keep from tempting my furry roommate.
Last Monday night, I came home from the university so tired that even my ears hurt. I sat down at my laptop, took off my earrings and dropped them on the desk beside me. Bob hopped up to give my nose a lick (something he picked up from my border collie) and settled down next to me. I forgot all about the earrings.
The next morning, when I went looking for them, of course, they were gone. I found one on the floor in the front hall, but the other seemed to have disappeared into thin air.
All my threats, entreaties and offers of bribes fell on deaf ears. Bob acted as though I had suddenly lapsed into speaking Swahili. He refused to negotiate or even to name a ransom. All our conversations ended the same way; with him narrowing his eyes and staring at me, unmoved by my pleas.
I searched all his regular hidey holes: under my bed, in his expandable cat tunnel, even in the space under the back of the guest room nightstand. I found all kinds of stuff I'd been missing. A nail clipper, a Cross pen, a pair of tweezers. But no earring.
I tried various substitutes last week. A pair of enameled earrings I'd bought overseas, delicate loveknots and silver chandeliers. None felt right. I despaired of ever seeing my gold hoop again.
To illustrate how desperate I was, when my mother offered to say a prayer to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, I thanked her.
Then, yesterday morning, I woke up to find the hoop on the pillow beside me. I couldn't believe it.
Of course, also on the pillow was a furry mouse, a plastic snake, the border collie's ratty old chew toy and half a dozen other cat treasures.
Despite that, I prefer to believe that St. Anthony and my felonious feline had a little chat overnight and that Bob saw the error of his ways.