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I Won't Apologise For Always Losing: The Bobby Pin Edition

I Won't Apologise For Always Losing: The Bobby Pin Edition

The other day I was doing some Spring cleaning, a typically uneventful household chore, when a box decided to bungee jump from the top shelf. Luckily I am the worst kind of cleaner, where I laboriously empty every shelf and spread everything onto the floor to create a knick-knack landmine, before actually doing any cleaning. Therefore I was able to break this thrill seeking box’s fall.

Ungraciously belly flopping onto any surface is not a good look, but at least when humans do it our stomachs do not open and reveal all of our secrets. The same cannot be said for a box. While this box’s lid now detached, hung sideways off a TV antenna like a ‘90s sitcom character’s cap, its body’s contents were sprawled all over the floor.

This was a box of memories.

A forgotten box that had archived from the ages of 8 to 17: letters, movie stubs, photo booth strips, friendship bracelets, and even a hand drawn ‘How to Kiss a Boy’ manual (rule #1: Always be the first to break away from the pash leaving your pasher wanting more, rule #2: Never practice your pashing on a lemon, a lemon is too small). I had basically time capsuled my entire puberty.

As I rifled through this nostalgic Everest, I noticed that a non-sentimental object kept reappearing. Just when I had removed one of these objects that didn’t belong from the heap, another one would surface. This happened repeatedly until in my palm I had a collection of about a dozen. What had I found?

Bobby Pins.

Now unless I had saved the very bobby pin I was wearing on each momentous occasion of my formative years there was no reason for them to be in this box.  Sure, having my 14th birthday party at La Porchetta, followed by watching Austin Powers: Goldmember was the pinnacle of my existence in 2002, but the bobby pin I wore that day – not so much. This led to a tidal wave of existential questions:

How did these bobby pins end up in this box?
How does a chronic hoarder manage to repeatedly lose every single bobby pin from every single packet of bobby pins she has ever bought?
Have I incorrectly been wearing the wrong coloured bobby pin (black) all my life when I should have been wearing the light brown one?
Who is Lady Jayne?
And most unsettling, where are all of the lost bobby pins in the world?

Every time I buy a new packet of bobby pins, I look in the bathroom mirror and say, ‘This time will be different’ and every time I know that this is a lie.

I have tried to routinely at the end of every day slide bobby pins back onto the cardboard they came on, put them in a designated box, chain them to together Barrel of Monkeys style, but always to no avail. It’s usually two to three weeks after buying a new packet I am on hands and knees searching the bathroom floor for one rogue bobby pin – the one that didn’t think life fastening my generally clean hair was so depressing it decided to parachute down the shower drain. Yep, even he is gone.

In my years I have found bobby pins in a myriad of places including my car’s glove box, the washing machine, the bottom of a tote bag I haven’t used since uni, jacket pockets, on a staircase, in my purse, in the dishwasher, on a windowsill pensively catching the sun’s rays, in the garden, at the carwash (presumably not mine), in my left loafer, and wedged in my hair three days after I thought I took it out. 

Sadly I’ve come to the realisation that no matter how hard you try and what systems you put in place, you will never be able to keep a set of bobby pins intact. It is my belief that someplace somewhere there is an entire ant colonisation built upon the existence of found bobby pins. This is why when you find one rogue bobby pin you feel way better than that respected paleontologist who has just discovered a 140,000-year-old fossil. It is also the reason why when a prodigal bobby pin unexpectedly reenters my life I am filled with hope, and for that I won’t apologise.

Illustration by Alice Oehr.

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