Moor or Less: Lost and found (finally) in Tucson

I am a finder. My wife is a loser. We are made for each other.

Before I go on, I should explain that “loser” designation. My wife is better than me in just about everything, making her a winner while using most definitions. But she loses things — keys, sunglasses, phones, garden tools.

I can find these items for her. I have the knack. Sometimes when she is moaning about something disappearing, I only have to swivel my neck to study a room and spy it — no calories burned by me, just a slow burn from my wife for her “lost” item being in plain sight.

Bill Moor

I can get a little smug about all this, which makes my wife even more frustrated.

So when I couldn’t find the lone key to our Tucson place the first full day of our stay out here, a look of vindication quickly passed across her face. It was not her but me … me … and me who was the one desperately searching pockets and places.

In the previous couple of hours, we had been to the grocery, the gym and had also checked out an outdoor pool. Now we needed to retrace our steps or make the embarrassing phone call to one of our hosts, who live next door but who were both at work.

No luck at the gym or pool but when we were walking through the grocery’s parking lot,  my wife (not me) spied something shiny near where we had parked earlier. It was our key — with a blue University of Arizona emblem on it.

Nobody had picked it up. Nobody had turned it in. Maybe nobody had seen it although it had been laying in the lot for at least an hour.

“It must have flicked out of my pocket when I reached in for the car keys,” I said, with a lot of relief and a little embarrassment in my voice.

“Uh-huh,” was all my wife said, which actually spoke volumes..

And that was that … until about 10 days later and a few days ago. That’s when I dripped my way into an L.A. Fitness locker room from the pool and … couldn’t find the key to my lock on my locker.

Not in my gym bag, not buried in my towel, not down in one of my flippers. I quickly retraced my steps around the showers, the bathroom and then back into the pool area.

I started to panic. Not only were all my clothes locked away but so was my phone and, most importantly, our car keys. So while still in the pool area, I yelled into the open labyrinth to the women’s locker room.

“Margaret!” I yelled, sounding a little like Marlon Brando screaming “Stella!” in “A Street Car Named Desire!” Or Dustin Hoffman shrieking “Elaine!” in “The Graduate.”

Somehow, she heard me — as did everyone in the pool area and probably in the women’s locker room. I told her to hustle out to the front desk and see if anyone turned in a key on a Cubbie blue lanyard.

So while I waited and waited and waited, I walked around the pool and the locker room checking everywhere I might have dropped my key. I could tell that some people were getting a little wary about the half-naked man circling.

Finally, my wife reappeared in the pool area — apparently showered and shampooed. “Nobody turned it in to the front desk,” she said. “But a guy is going to meet you in the men’s locker room. In the meantime, try my key in case it was a set.”

Geez, OK. I went back to my locker and tried her key, which didn’t work. Then one of the gym’s employees came in with bolt cutters and announced, “Who’s the guy who lost his key?” He said it like “idiot” would be a better word.

While about 10 pairs of eyes scanned the room, I meekly put up my hand and pointed to my lock. “Crunch!” and the lock was cut off.

In a gesture of relief, I slapped my hands against my hips only to feel something. Inside my swim suit’s pocket was my key on the Cub lanyard. I didn’t remember putting it there. Actually, I didn’t even remember my suit having a pocket.

I thought I might be losing it — my sanity more than any key.

After getting dressed, I met my wife out in the gym and meekly admitted what had happened. She shook her head and said, “Well, give me back my key before you lose it, too.”

Her key? Oh, yeah. I felt my pockets and looked in my bag and couldn’t find it. Finally, after taking all my stuff out of my gym bag and making my wife do the same — “Are you sure I didn’t give it back to you?” — I found it in my bag’s bottom crease.

“Found it,” I said. “Three keys lost. Three keys found. And I admit that all this was my fault. Sorry.”

She nodded and I should have stopped there. I couldn’t help myself, though. “But I would have been out at the front desk in 30 seconds if you were in your swimsuit and without your key. You took 15 minutes.”

“Get lost,” she said.

Which sounded like a perfect way to end this story.