The safety rail from a tractor’s trailer. The helmet from a super secret police enforcer. Fred Flintstone. A sheep.
These are just some of the toys missing in action in the Cousins household and their absence causes me great discomfort.
I should be more concerned about who to vote for in the election, if I’m getting best value on my savings or whether Leicester have a strong enough team to stay in the Premier League next season, but as has always been the case an unhealthy proportion of my time is spent fretting about the inconsequential minutiae of life.
I am a tad obsessive when it comes to missing and incomplete things. For me, building a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle only to find the last piece is missing would be the equivalent of learning Nick Griffin had been elected Prime Minister.
I’m currently collecting World Cup football stickers even though I vowed I wasn’t going to. The problem was I got the album and six stickers for free. I stuck in those first six stickers with carefree abandon. Within five minutes I was rushing to the shop for as many packets as my pockets could accommodate, unable to cope with the remaining 634 spaces in the album, taunting me with their emptiness.
Only a psychologist could endeavour to explain why I’m obsessed with completion, though I’m loathe to start seeing a shrink as the same obsession would mean I couldn’t stop attending after one or two sessions, instead whiling away Lucy and Ben’s Disneyland fund until the couch sessions reached an agreeable conclusion.
Even though I know lost items rarely turn up again I refuse to give up hope. I’m optimistically obsessed in that respect.
Whenever you lose something, people tend to ask, “Where’s the last place you had it?”
That is completely irrelevant in our house.
Even if you’ve carefully set something in its correct place (which I less than occasionally do) little hands mean that items such as keys, wallets and phones tend to wander. It’s like living with the Artful Dodger or a stereotypical Scouser.
So even if you can remember exactly where you last had something, Lucy and Ben are likely to have figuratively moved the goalposts, which I’m sure they will also do literally when I get round to buying them goalposts.
One of Ben’s favourite places for hiding things is the bin. It’s not an ideal situation given that he does it when no one’s looking and is yet to gain the powers of communication to tell anyone what mischief he’s been up to.
As a result of being the person who puts the bins out every week I’ve been complicit in the very act of losing things that irks me so.
One of the losses that hurt me the most was when I presented Lucy and Ben with a container full of coloured plastic letters and numbers.
Oh, how I enjoyed watching Lucy counting with the aid of the numbers and arranging the letters to make accidental words. Ben just chewed them, but I also enjoyed watching that.
Then one day when tidying the letters and numbers back into their container I noticed to my horror that one of the letters was missing, a vowel no less. Disgusted, I hid the numbers and letters away never to be played with again.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a ‘i’.