This story has a happy ending.
I used to lose things all the time. I hated it. A lot of my OCD started out as compulsively organizing what goes where and doublechecking that I put things where they go and consciously remembering where I put something down so I can find it again later. These days I almost never lose things, but when I do, it really really stresses me out. I feel like I've moved two parallel universes over and it's very disorienting.
Today I got to work, after taking two subways to a lunch date and then a taxi from the restaurant to the office, and realized the front pocket of my backpack was open. That's where I keep my sunglasses—my very new, very expensive, incredibly gorgeous sunglasses that I love way more than my regular glasses and would wear all the time if I could. They weren't in there. There was a conspicuous glasses-shaped emptiness.
I remembered putting things in that pocket this morning (which is why it was open). I couldn't remember whether the sunglasses were in there; I was in a rush and hadn't bothered to imprint a tactile memory of there being either the sunglasses case or extra space in the pocket.
I remembered that last week I was unpacking from the trip to Montauk and I took out my sunglasses, and I thought, I should put my sunglasses away for the winter; this time of year I need all the sunlight I can get. And then I thought, No, I should keep them in the front pocket of my backpack, so that the first time I need them in the spring they're where I expect to find them. (In other words, warding off a where-are-my-sunglasses anxiety moment months from now. My OCD makes plans.) But I didn't remember whether I had actually put them back in that pocket.
I asked J to check my suitcase, and around where my backpack had been in my room this morning, and my standing desk (which is where I sometimes put things that I don't have the time to properly file away in that moment). He found nothing. I felt queasy. I hate that feeling. I shoved it down so I could record the radio show, and think I did a pretty decent job.
After work, I called the restaurant where I'd had lunch, and the taxi company that had taken me from lunch to the office. No luck. I filed a lost item report with the MTA in case the sunglasses had fallen out on the train. After some thought, I took a taxi back up to where I'd had lunch and retraced my steps from the restaurant back to the subway station; the $12 cab fare seemed a worthwhile investment in recovering this particular item. No luck there either.
I started doom-thinking. I'll order a new pair of sunglasses and then the old ones will turn up and I'll be out all that money. I'll order a new pair and the frame will have been discontinued and no other frame will look as good. I'll be driving without sunglasses this weekend and it'll snow and the glare will give me a headache. That was no good, so I went to dinner and ran some errands and went back to the office and finished my work, because I was not about to let this wreck me. I had too much to do, and on general principle I refuse to be owned by my anxiety.
I got home at a reasonable hour for once, and naturally went straight to my room to ransack it. And there they were on the shelf at the foot of my bed, which is where I put in-progress things so I have no idea why I put them there. They were totally buried under an actual in-progress project, and in a black case on a black bookshelf, so there's no way J could have seen them. I didn't remember noticing them when I put the project materials there. I just looked there because there was nowhere else left to look. And they were actually there.
I wandered around the house for a bit, clutching them like a kid with a teddy bear, and let all my pent-up anxiety unwind itself. Just because I'd been productive while being anxious didn't mean I hadn't been anxious. I ended up releasing it by making some extremely meticulous sandwiches (to the point of weighing out the roast beef, which is quite excessive meticulosity even by my usual standards) for tomorrow. My poor sad OCD brain really needed to be indulged a bit after all that stress, and now I have perfect sandwiches that will be satisfying all over again when I eat them.
Now I am going to take a nice relaxing hot shower and go to bed. And tomorrow I will still be in the universe where I have my sunglasses and at least that little part of everything will be okay.