Searching For Pearls

I’ve spent the last forty eight hours in panic, tearing apart my entire apartment looking for my pearl earring, which bounced to the floor Friday night, landing somewhere beyond my sight. After throwing every piece of bedroom furniture aside, scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees and clearing the – I am mortified to admit this – mountains of under-the-bed dust bunnies, I still can’t find it. The earrings were an unexpected Valentine’s Day gift from my husband and one would think I had actually lost him, rather than a silly piece of jewelry the way I have been carrying on the past two days. My husband is a relatively relaxed person, which counters my hyper anxiety driven self.Shortly after we became engaged, I lost my engagement ring in our  apartment. I came to him sobbing incomprehensibly and when he could finally decipher what I was saying, he was like, “That’s all? I thought you were sick or something.” His attitude was: if you find it, you find it. If you don’t, you’ll have to go without a ring for awhile and when we can afford a new one, we’ll buy one. I found it shortly after my sobs, but that’s the thing, I never really lost anything in the first place. We were still getting married, we were still together. Wedding rings are a symbol, nothing more.

I keep thinking of this billboard we saw last weekend on the Highline. On our way to the TriBeCa Film Festival, we decided to stroll the Highline, not thinking that on a beautiful NY Saurday afternoon it would be mobbed. We found ourselves marrooned to the sidelines and caught sight of David Shrigley’s installation “How are you feeling?”, which you can view: here.  We both laughed when we saw it: it’s a pretty good insight into my habitual interior monolgoue. Judging by the laughter from those on the Highline and the installation’s popularity: it’s a hyperbolic representation of the minds of most people. To borrow from Richard Carlson — we’re sweating the small stuff and its mostly all small stuff.
We took the bedroom tornado as an opportunity to engage in a deep spring clean and tried to charitably recycle all of the clothes and shoes that we no longer wear. We began sorting through the clothes and gear we’ll bring on the Wainwright and started to organize our maps, and guidebooks, and clothes. My pearl earring is still missing, but my apartment feels so much more full. Nothing is really missing.
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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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5 Responses to Searching For Pearls

  1. I like this. When we were planning our wedding, I would say, “The goal for the day is to get married. So if the cake falls in on itself at the reception, we’re still married. Huge blizzard keeps all of the guests from the Northeast from flying to the wedding? Still married.” Knowing the difference between what matters, and a symbol, is huge.

  2. katielee07 says:

    Ahhh panic. That adrenaline fuelled moment – I don’t miss you. Finding your earring… stand exactly where you were when you dropped it. In you mind work out the furtherest distance it possibly could have bounced/rolled too. That is your search area. Again – in your mind – re-enact the scene. Did you hear the bounce? Was there the initial bounce followed by another 2 or 3 little ones? A bounce and a skitter? What direction does it sound? Break up your search area in into 4ths – and start looking – keeping in mind the bounces and skitters you heard. What was there? Furniture, material, shoes? did it bounce into shoe? I also find that when I have lost something – I stand in the middle of the room and I focus my mind on the item and simply ask to find it. No panic – no emotion – no desperation – just a simple “Please find my earring” and then FEEL and experience the relief you know you will have in your stomach/soul when you spy that errant little pearl. Own that feeling and trust that it will happen. Panic causes your eyes to miss things – it causes you to be ‘looking’ but your mind has already moved on to the next area you are going to look in (this is true for anything you are doing in a state of mild or severe panic).

    After learning to stop and put myself in the moment and deliberately focus – I now only get that panicky sick feeling for things that are truely outside of my control! Your earring is there waiting for you. I think it has bounced further than you thought – and check your shoes! lol Should for whatever reason you not find your earring – when your husband buys you another set as an unexpected gift – take your remaining one and get it turned into a ring. Then you’ll have a set!

    • I took your advice and guess what? I found it! When I was a teenager I worked retail and my boss used to say “Angels, Angels, all of my Angels and all of the Angels of all the people in this store-Where is my . So, I did that and then I thought about where it could have fallen besides the floor and I realized that my dresser drawer was slightly ajar Friday night and when I sifted to the bottom of it-Voila! My earring! Thanks again!!

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