I’m a very organized person.  I can’t take credit for it—it’s in my DNA.  The exception?

I can’t find my thumb drives. 

Formally called USB flash drives, they’re slim two-inch external hard drives used to transfer files from one computer to another.  With the prevalence of cloud storage, there’s not much use for them these days, but they still have their purposes.

And I can never find mine.

When I gave my first film talk in April, the Plum Library suggested I bring my accompanying slides on a thumb drive to use with their equipment.  I know I possess a minimum of five thumb drives, but I couldn’t find a single one.

I could produce for you a copy of my tax returns from six years ago in under five minutes.  I know where every pan is stored in my kitchen, which bookshelf holds my Tess Gerritsen novels, and where I’ve filed a scanned copy of every card currently in my wallet.

But I could not find a single one of those thumb drives.

I had no choice but to drive to Target and buy a new one.

At least they’re cheap these days.

As I prepared last week’s talk on Bogart and Bacall, at least I could rest assured that I had a new thumb drive.


Ready to load up my slides, I looked in my desk drawer, right where I knew I had left the thumb drive in April and found…nothing.

For a second time I turned my house upside down like angry TV cops in a meth den.

Still nothing.  I now have six missing thumb drives—the five I’ve had for years, and the sixth I bought specifically to hold my slides for talks.

Has Blinker the Cat figured out how to open drawers and hold my thumb drives hostage for additional cans of Fancy Feast?

Maybe, but as of yet I’ve received no ransom demand from her.

Is someone breaking into my house and stealing nothing but my thumb drives?

That’s the only possibility that makes sense.

Either way, I had no choice but to drive back to Target.  Unlike my house, I knew right where the thumb drives were kept.

Wrong again.

Turns out they renovated my local Target and jumbled the electronics section beyond recognition.  After walking up and down every aisle, I finally had to give in and ask for help. 

I bought two this time, and all was well for last Tuesday’s talk.

I split the thumb drives up and put them in two locations where I will be certain to look for them the next time I need one.

I think.

I hope.

Lord, I hope Target doesn’t discontinue thumb drives.