Mark Schofer

One of my age-old axioms is directed toward travel. If we were to travel and everything went according to plan, what stories would we have to tell? This is, a bit of a story, where everything went according to plan and then again who really knows what the plan was. And maybe that is part of the problem, when everything goes better than expected we let down our guard.

Have you ever filled out bingo cards before going on a trip. We did recently on a trip we just made. The game works this way. You fill out individual bingo squares with scenarios you expect to play out. For example, me being vegan, I expected to hear the time-honored question of where you get your protein. I put that on a semi strategic place on my bingo card.

We were ready for the little nuances that happen when spending time with family. If you are keeping score at home, this is multiplied by another factor I have yet to determine. We will call these outside events you have little to no control. On this particular weekend, the Bay Area got near record rainfall. They were expecting record rainfall, but the weekend was a regression back toward the mean and we only got near record rainfall. With this, there is a lot of inside time which cranks up the interactions.

We got home from the flight with our bingo cards barely populated. It wasn’t exactly a challenging flight. Oakland is a calm airport, and we had no layovers. Somewhere in the three hours in transit, I decided to lend my AirPods to my wife, I believe so she could finish an audio book. That’s the beauty of the little intricacies in life. I think I lent the AirPods to my wife, but I am not sure. She is pretty sure that I did. I do recall she wanted to finish a book. I am not exactly sure. I recall having the AirPods on the shuttle bus and my wife putting them in her black backpack. It is entirely possible that I put them in my red backpack. My backpack has about twenty pockets, many in places I have a hard time finding.

I really like those AirPods. Mine had stickers on the case so I can identify them if lost. For example, if I were to lose them on a flight or an airport shuttle.

My wife and I are pretty adept travelers, and we have it down to a science. That is, we have it down to one big science experiment. The one part of traveling we still have not mastered is coming home from a trip. It usually takes us somewhere between one and twenty-three days to unpack. However, on this trip it took us each about an hour or two.

We noticed that the AirPods were nowhere to be found. We quickly concluded that we either left them on the plane or airport shuttle. I checked my backpack once again my wife did the same. Neither of us could find the AirPods. We were pretty tired and put the chatter of the hearing devices to rest for the evening. I didn’t even think about them until the very next day when I wanted to do a Spanish class online.

I looked for Dean through my cell phone. My headphones came with a name and that was Dean. The headphones did not appear on our network. For this reason, we suspected Dean was on an airplane or an airport shuttle bus. There was a meniscule chance Dean came home with us and was hiding in obscurity. The task of tracking Dean was daunting.

While looking for something has anybody asked you, “Where was the last place you put it? It is annoying however that is how the human brain works over and over again. We asked each other that question repeatedly and came to the conclusion the headphones were lost never to be found again. We did the next logical thing. We went out and bought a new set of AirPods.

So let me tell you about the new headphones. They do the same thing as the old headphones. They let you listen to something without bothering anybody else. You can listen to “We Built This City” on repeat and nobody will be the wiser. You move on with your life with new headphones. The new case needs a sticker, you think to yourself.

I usually put on my headphones when vacuuming. Why not listen to a book while running the vacuum. And that is what I was doing when I found Dean sitting right there on the bedroom floor. My heart rate increased, sweat dripped down my back and my brain started answering important questions. How can this be and what was the last time I remember seeing them. Even your internal conversations are trite and silly. I have no idea how Dean ended up there and how it was not spotted previously. We do have cats and that explains almost nothing. It is an almost an out of body experience when we suddenly find something we have been passively looking for. Your mind goes into denial and you quietly slip them into your pocket and hope nobody is watching.
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