I lose things

If you know me well, or even if you don’t, you probably know that I lose things. It’s a problem I’ve had for at least since undergrad. The most prized material item I’ve lost is a beautiful diamond ring my mother gave me as a gift. I lost it on a domestic flight from Pittsburgh to San Francisco. I remember seeing it on my finger, taking it off and putting it in the pocket of the seat in front of me because I was about to eat a sandwich or something. I know. Ridiculous. I cannot really accurately describe how low my heart sunk when United Air confirmed they could not find it. The second most prized material item I’ve lost is a Nikon point and shoot camera with the 300+ photos of the most romantic trip of my lifetime. Also United Air. I know this is ultimately MY PROBLEM, but can I take a brief moment to say something? * Fuck United.*

I’ve gotten better over the years, really!, but it still happens, and not just on black out nights, sometimes day to day living, the wear and tear of activity, transitioning, and transporting from home to work to restaurant to home to work to gym to somewhere out in the wild. It’s why I don’t buy expensive jewelry or $200 sunglasses. If I someday get engaged, out of genuine fear, I don’t plan to wear the ring out unless it is absolutely snug and I’ve decided I’m never taking it off, or maybe I will just wear a far less expensive ring in its place. Or maybe, I don’t believe in rings.

So what?

Here’s why I am writing about this to you. I want to make something beautiful out of this bullshit that is losing things.

A few years ago I discussed with my friend Abhish R. the possibility of doing a short film that follows the life of items lost (not stolen). He, like me, loses things, and we both wondered: Where do they go?

I wanted to somehow capture this crazy idea I had: What if – at the end of your life – you were taken on a journey through the answers to all the mysteries and question marks in your life? What if you could finally know where everything you ever lost eventually ended up? What if you could know who loved you, who didn’t, the name of that band that played that song you loved, but Shazam wasn’t quick enough?

The short film never panned out for the usual reasons. We were both busy. He was in New York, I was in California. We didn’t have enough idea to work off of. We didn’t really have the resources. But, just a few days ago, someone reignited my interest in exploring this.


I recently lost a pair of sunglasses and I recalled Caltrain being a place I might have left it. I called the Lost and Found and the kind voice of a man named Emmett greeted me. He is the man responsible for all Lost and Found items on Caltrain and SamTrans, the train and bus systems of the Bay Area.

I described the sunglasses. He apologized, None had come in, but please call back in a few days, maybe they’ll turn up! You never know. So I did, and there it was again, his jovial, warm voice. And again, an apology. But this time, we chatted for a good ten minutes. Well, mostly it was him reassuring me that these things happen. People lose things. We are human! We get distracted. Items fall out of our pockets. This is OK. We are alive! I woke up and got out of bed today, all my limbs work, I have a job, don’t I? I do, I answered. Then that is a beautiful thing! On he went about the beauty of simply being alive, and the silliness of letting material items lost get you worked up. Buy another pair on Amazon, find a deal. Ain’t a thang. You got this.

I thanked him with smiles. It wasn’t until after I hung up that I decided that I wanted to know him more, that he was the perfect person to talk to about LOSING THINGS. Here is a man who could have just so simply told me Nah, I don’t have them. Sorry about that and good luck. Instead, he made my day. He probably gets phone calls daily. He’s probably seen some crazy things come up. He sounds like he has stories.

I won’t know until I talk to him more, and that’s what I plan to do. On Monday, I’m calling Emmett and asking him if he will give me an interview. I haven’t decided audio or video yet. I am excited!

What would you be curious to know from or about Emmett, the Lost and Found guy?

Authorjustine lee