Forgetful Thaddeus

Thaddeus was standing on his front steps looking through his key ring. No house key. That’s right, he’d taken it off the ring the other day to lend it to his sister, and he hadn’t gotten around to putting it back on. He’d been carrying it in his back pocket. He checked his pocket. Nope.

Time to retrace his steps. Luckily, this wasn’t the first time he’d forgotten something. He was really good at keeping a list of where he’d been all day.   He always checked for his planner whenever he left and then wrote where he was and what he did.

So, before coming home, he’d gone running around the track at the park.   Time to head back. At the park, he found his water bottle on the bench by the track. His keys weren’t there.   He looked around carefully to be sure.   All right, what was before that?

The library was a short walk through the park. He found his jacket by the computers, his favorite pen at the table he’d sat at, and his library card at the front desk. His keys were still missing.

He walked the aisles of the grocery store and found his shopping list sitting next to the potatoes. He even asked at the customer service desk, but unfortunately, his keys were not there.   He pulled out his planner and checked the list again.

He’d left a half-used book of stamps at the desk of the post office.   “I thought you might come back for these,” The postal worker said with a smile. “You’re lucky you came now, my shift is almost over.”

Thaddeus thanked her and asked if she’d seen a house key anywhere. She hadn’t.   Well, at least he had his stamps.   He tucked them into his jacket pocket and pulled out his planner. It looked like it was time to go to the bank again.

He’d left a granola bar at the bank among the magazines in the waiting area. He unwrapped it and bit into it as he left. Yuck, it was peanut butter. He always forgot how much he didn’t like the peanut butter granola bars. He ate it anyway and checked his planner.

Ah, yes. He’d gone to visit his elderly neighbor. She was lonely and liked his weekly visits. This would probably take a while. He knocked on the door. A short lady with snow-white hair opened the door just wide enough to peek out.   “Eloise!” Thaddeus said. “It’s lovely to see you again! Did I leave my key here?”

Eloise blinked up at him. “Harold? What was that about a monkey?”

“No, it’s Thaddeus,” he said. She always got his name wrong. It didn’t help that she couldn’t hear well. “I’m looking for my house key.”

“Oh, come in, then Andrew. There’s no need to be shy. I should have a first aid kit somewhere, maybe in the bathroom? Why don’t you go check while I boil some water.”   Eloise locked the door behind him and bustled off. Thaddeus sat on a chair and waited.

She returned a while later with a mug.   “It’s chamomile. For the stress, you know,” she said and handed it to him.   “Now show me your pinky. Which hand was it?”

Thaddeus pulled out his shopping list and pen and wrote out: “Have you seen my house key?”

Eloise took her reading glasses off the table and put them on. She leaned forward.   “House key? Why didn’t you say so, Jonathan? I don’t have it, but you left your umbrella here.” She pointed to his little black umbrella, propped up against the chair he was sitting in.

“Thank you, Eloise,” he said. “I’ll see you next week.”

“I’m sure you will, George. We’re all getting old,” she said.

He drank his chamomile tea, thanked her and left.   He checked his list. Yard work at home. He went home and looked all over the yard. His gloves were in the wheelbarrow and his baseball cap was hanging on the end of a tree branch. He still hadn’t found his key.

He checked his list. He’d been at home before this. There was nowhere else to look. His system had failed him. Would he have to call a locksmith? Break a window? Live on his front steps forever?

He tried the knob, feeling silly, because of course the door wouldn’t magically unlock itself. The knob turned and the door opened. He’d forgotten to lock it. He carried all his things inside and put them away, including the bag of groceries he’d left on the steps earlier. He found his key on the windowsill next to his bed. It had been here the whole time.

Well, his method had mostly worked after all.   Logic and organization win again.   They were always saving him –it’s why he’d become an accountant. Speaking of which, it was time to balance his accounts. Now, where had he left his calculator?