Remote Possibilities

Dear Mumsy,

I have three air-conditioning units in my apartment. A large one in the main living area, and a smaller one in each of the two bedrooms. They can only be operated by remote control, and each unit has its own remote handset. Two of them need new batteries though, so I only use one of the remote handsets. There’s only me there so it’s not a problem.

On Tuesday morning, I lost the only working remote control. Not an easy thing to do in a small apartment.

The remote sits on my computer table by day, and I sleep with it under the pillow at night. I usually go to sleep with the air-conditioning on and set it to switch off after half an hour. If I wake up during the night because I’m too hot, the remote is always handy and I give it another half hour. Then in the morning, I put the remote back on the computer table. It’s a habit. Autopilot.

On this particular morning, I sat down in front of the computer and went to turn the air-conditioning on. No remote!

Ok. Must have left it in the bedroom.

Not in the bedroom. Not under the pillow. Not under the bed. Not fallen down the back of the bed. Not on either of the bedside tables. Not in the bedside table drawers. Not under the bedside tables. Not fallen into a shoe. Not in any of the wardrobes. Not mixed up with a pile of dirty laundry. Not under the mattress. Nowhere to be seen in the bedroom. I even looked out of the window to see if I’d inadvertently tossed it away during the night. It’s the sort of silly place you look, even though I know it couldn’t possibly have happened.

Ok. Let’s think about this. It must be by the computer and I just couldn’t see it. That happens without coffee!

No! Nowhere to be seen around the computer.

Better make some coffee. This is serious!

Ok. Retrace footsteps. I’d been doing a fair bit of cleaning before firing up the computer. Must have had it in my hand and put it down somewhere.

Turned the living and kitchen area upside down. Nowhere. Not in any of the kitchen cupboards. Not even in the fridge!

Not in the bathroom cupboard. Not on the bathroom shelves. Not in the bath! Not behind the toilet. Not in the bathroom bin.

Not in the oven. Not in my guitar case. Not in any of the wardrobes in the spare bedroom. I was clutching at straws. I hadn’t been near any of those that morning. But you know what devious little pranksters those fairies can be!

I know. Maybe the dog picked it up and walked off with it. I wouldn’t put it past her. After all, she did wake me up that morning by jumping on the bed.

But I’d already looked everywhere. Where might she have hidden it?

Not under the TV stand. Not under the sofa. Not hidden amongst the many pieces of linen which are the remnants of the sheet I gave her to lie on, which she’s torn to shreds. I had high hopes there. Not on the balcony. Not on the road down below the balcony!

Only one thing left to do. Turn out the kitchen bin. It had to be in there. I must have inadvertently thrown it away while I was cleaning.

Nope! Not in the kitchen bin. Nothing in the kitchen bin! New liner.

Oh no! I’d taken the rubbish downstairs earlier to be collected.

So I dashed downstairs and rescued my refuse sack, brought it back up to the apartment and turned it out. Nothing! Felt a bit foolish.

Surely I didn’t stuff it in my pocket and take it with me when I took the dog out for a walk, and lose it? I couldn’t have! Could I? Maybe I should phone the Police and put it on the ‘missing’ list.

All this had taken about half an hour by now. It wasn’t actually of major importance. I still had the other two remotes. All I had to do was nip out and buy some fresh batteries. Five minutes and it was sorted.

But when something like this happens, something which defies reason and logic, we humans have a burning desire to get to the bottom of it, however long it takes.

I poured myself another cup of coffee and sat on the balcony in the sunshine. Needed to think this one through. No point in continuing to blunder my way around the apartment searching in vain. There was a logical explanation. I just needed to find it. We all like to blame it on the borrowers, but that’s just a neat excuse for our own failure.

Where hadn’t I looked? On top of the air-conditioning units? I resisted the temptation to look there. It was too unreasonable. Inside my guitar? Could it have fallen through the sound hole? Another temptation I resisted. Inside my camera case? Resisted that one too. I hadn’t been near it. Behind the fridge? A possibility I suppose. Changed my mind about that when it wasn’t there.

Think back. Did I wake up during the night? Did I use the remote?

Yes! I did. So I had it with me.

What did I do with it after I’d used it?

Same as usual, I imagine. I would have stuffed it back under the pillow.

So why isn’t it still there?

And then it hit me. The one place that it hadn’t occurred to me to look.

And sure enough. There it was.

Inside the pillow case…!


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Calm down, George! It’s not that funny…

'I just got the one about the light switch!'


©MPB 07/September/2007


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