I have something I'd love to wrap up and re-gift this Christmas. It requires no batteries, takes up no space, and possesses powers so great they border on the magical. The problem is that even if there were actually a way to pass it along to someone else, I'd probably feel too guilty to follow through.
What is this thing? It's my own personal abyss, my single-serving-size mini black hole. It's my most constant companion, doggedly following me wherever I go, gobbling up keys, paperwork and coupons. It swallows early-purchased Christmas gifts I naively believed I'd tucked away somewhere safe.
Its gravitational pull is strong, capable of consuming everything from socks to small appliances.
Seldom can searching produce something that's fallen into this hole. Instead, I must wait until the ever-hungry abyss tires of whatever it was and spits it back out. It never fails to land in one of the places I'm absolutely certain I've looked.
A recent example: Shortly before heading to the mall to do some Christmas shopping, I clipped several coupons from the newspaper and put them in the small zippered pocket on the front of my purse, noting that the only other item in that pocket was my insurance card. While in the checkout line at Macy's, I unzipped my purse. The insurance card was present, but not a coupon in sight. I dug through every pocket. Nothing.
Having grown somewhat accustomed to life with the hole, I keep my purse contents sparse, to limit the enjoyment it apparently derives from watching me dig. I carefully checked every pocket, but those coupons had vanished. Frustrated, I returned my items to the rack and left empty-handed. A few hours later, I opened my purse and there were the coupons - regurgitated intact, courtesy of the black hole.
There are times I suspect the abyss has my best interests in mind. When an important document gets sucked in at work, I'm forced to file and organize my office until the lost paper is found. If not for my abyss, my desk would hardly ever get cleaned.
The abyss is playful, routinely swiping single socks and holding on to them until I finally give up and discard the mate. Once it feels confident that trash day has passed, it returns the now useless booty.
Lest anyone think me unbalanced, I kept the news about my black hole to myself until a friend was telling me about a collection of Christmas houses they put on display every year. After the holidays, they store the houses together, but this year, when they brought out their decorations, two of the houses had vanished.
She blamed their black hole.
I went online to research the phenomena and found that not only have others experienced similar happenings, but those happenings are apparently so plentiful that products are being marketed to aid in dealing with their existence. For just $16, you can get a black-hole purse light with light rays that are resistant to the gravitational pull of the hole. For $5, there's a black-hole time-warp fractal 2.25-inch purse pocket mirror.
After a good deal more searching, I decided to go ahead and order the light, since I could find no instructions on transferring ownership of my black hole to someone else.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@cnpapers.com.