Memory Loss

By , June 5, 2013

The Unthinkable happened June 1st: After 18 years of constant use, my Franklin-Covey Planner has gone missing.

I say “gone missing” because, while I’d prefer to think that I lost it, it appears likely that someone stole it.

NOTE: I was wrong, no one stole it. I got it back! Find out more by reading Memory Found!

On Saturday, we washed a couple loads of laundry at the laundromat. While waiting for the wash, we threw our packs and other gear into the back of our car, and walked across the street to The Garage Sale Store (see Museum of Lost Desires).

I had entered some information in my planner just before leaving the laundromat. I may have put it in the back seat of the car with my other gear. At the last moment, I grabbed my jacket from one of the packs—it’s possible that action might have flipped my planner out on the ground, but that’s highly unlikely. I might have carried it with me over to the store. About 20 minutes later, Michelle asked if I had any checks, which I keep in the back of my planner. I replied that I didn’t have the planner with me. I know I used both hands to examine some items in the store; perhaps I laid the planner down then, perhaps not.

At any rate, after repeated, exhaustive searches of the store, the laundromat, and the car, the planner has not appeared.

This is as close to memory loss as I hope I will ever experience. All of my personal data, from scheduling, to client billing, to thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams—anything important enough to jot down and remember from May to July is gone. I now have to recreate this month and next month’s planned activities from scratch.

With it, I’ve lost my prized moose antler fountain pen (see Simple Pleasures: Writing With a Fountain Pen), a credit card multi-tool, a credit card facsimile of my birth certificate (not useful to any identity thieves, I don’t think. Alaska doesn’t issue them anymore, so it had sentimental value). I lost photos of Aly and Michelle, my address book, voter I.D., a pocket magnifier, even a coupon for a free mocha at Mountain Market. I’d been looking forward to that! Almost none of these things are life threatening or irreplaceable. But, they’re gone. Imagine losing your wallet and having your computer hard drive crash on the same day. This is sort of like that!

What’s worse, except for the pen and tool, most of the contents are absolutely worthless (and rather boring) to anyone else. It was loaded with personal contact information, from the owner page in the front to business cards. Anyone that picked it up, had they the slightest sense of decency or conscience, could have contacted me immediately. Hell, they could have waited around the laundry a couple of minutes and handed it back to me!

We’re slightly concerned about identity theft here, although for a variety of reasons, anyone attempting to use what they find in the planner will be in for some nasty surprises. More likely, the good stuff has been stripped, and the rest tossed in the bushes at the end of some local road, to soak into uselessness in the rain.

I felt stupid putting so many eggs in one basket, as it were. Then I realized that this is the first time this has happened in over 18 years of daily use. I can’t help but hope that it’s still out there, waiting to be returned to me. I put notices on the local radio station, and the community Web site, but these are vain hopes. I’ve found too many rifled purses, wallets, and other personal items on the deserted roads of Juneau and other towns to expect more.

I’ve grown to depend on the planner now more than I ever did in “normal” life (see A Fifth F and a Reassessment and The Franklin Planner: An Unlikely Homesteading Tool). I’ve begun setting up a new planner, but there will always be a gaping hole punched in my “memory.” Nor will I soon forget the loss.

4 Responses to “Memory Loss”

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    Sorry to read this-hope it will appear soon-Know the feeling when wife’s purse goes missing-have done some pretty fast backtracking-luckily it has always appeared-last scramble was when she left in cart at Wal-Mart-some honest person found it and turned it in-hope you find it
    ps-The Metis Status was approved-now an official card carrier

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Linn, thanks–at this point, I really don’t think I’ll see it again. I’ve had some close scrapes over the years, too: left it in a shopping cart (retrieved it myself). Picked up at a book table outside a store–another customer picked it up, brought it into the store and asked around. One time I careened all around town on my bike looking for it, only to realize an hour or two later that it was in the bike’s carrier. I really, really wish I had another “stupid homesteader” story to tell about it this time, but it’s almost certainly gone.

  3. Judy says:

    Oh, so sorry to learn about the loss of your planner. (I hope everyone knows what a planner is!!! I assume yours is the kind where you buy new yearly inserts and place them in the leather cover? If I knew what it looked like, I could more easily help find it! Leather cover? Three-ring notebook type? A-Z indexed address section?) With regard to your statement in your sentence noted above:”…I’ve found too many rifled purses, wallets, and other personal items on the roads of Juneau…,” that comment makes me really sad. You mean to tell me there is the same type of crime going on in your neck of the woods as in the Lower 48? Or was it just a tongue-in-cheek comment? I know you looked but did it slide down between the seats in the car?

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Judy, yes it’s a Franklin day planner. I put out a fairly detailed description of its looks on the local radio station and the community Web site. If anyone has it, they’re surely not stupid enough to let anyone in this small town see them with it. At least, I don’t think!

    My comment wasn’t tongue in cheek at all. We have a lot of crime up here, unfortunately. It’s not so prevalent in Haines, but in Juneau we had our car rifled a few times. Our vehicle’s operating manual came in a black vinyl portfolio. It soon became an attractive item to grab and go. I’m sure they were disappointed when they discovered what it really was!

    The worst was when someone stole the rear light assembly off of one of my cars. Someone broke theirs, needed it replaced, and decided that it was more important that they have a whole vehicle than that I be allowed to keep mine. I’m still angry about that!

    When I was growing up here, no one bothered to lock their houses or cars. A lot of people still don’t, even in Juneau, but I gave up on trusting my fellow man that far long ago. There’s just no underestimating the dishonesty of Americans, I’m afraid.

    We actually pulled the rear seat up to look underneath it to make sure. No luck!

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