The Forever Dance

My wife loses her wallet nine times a week on average.
She can NEVER find it.
My job is to find it. It's an unwritten law. If I don't find it within ten or fifteen minutes I am deemed hopeless as a hunter-gatherer by her DNA. I gotta climb down off my silver steed, pull my helmet visor up, and scour the Kingdom.
Now over 15 years that means she's lost it seven thousand and twenty times. I have found it seven thousand and ten times. Our daughters, the dogs and the cat have found it the remaining ten times.
Once early on it was under a saucepan lid. So naturally every time she calls out "Have you seen my purse?" I say, almost every time, "Did you check under the saucepan lid?"
This gets no laughs at all.
Today she lost it again.
She arrived home from the shops, came in the house and said "Have you seen my purse?"
I said "Didn't you take my car out last night? Maybe it's in there?"
"I took it out of your car this morning before work."
"Hmmmm." Then at that instant I did what I normally do. I get a clear picture in my head of where the purse is. 
Meantime at that moment she deftly changes the subject. "Did you dry the clothes in the drier today?"
So we've had our clothes dryer for about 7 years. I can't read anything on the machine cos I always forget to take my glasses with me down to the cellar where the drier lives. So for the past 7 years whenever I used the machine I just kept pressing buttons until the damn thing kicked into life. The first time I did that it must have taken me 20 minutes to get it going. I'm only required to operate it once in a blue moon. Like when the family is away, usually. My wife is nervous about me using anything cos I use a little too much force and end up breaking everything like all the freaking time. Then I blame it on the Chinese manufacturers, or outsourcing in general, or globalism or the corporate elite. I don't blame it on myself cos why would I?
I've had a good few dryers in my life, usually they came with the apartment I was renting at the time. But none of them had a water-collection vestibule built in to them.
So over the past seven years when my wife has told me, time and time again, to make sure I check the filter and change it if it's full I always assumed it was the 'fluff' filter. I've seen them before. You pull the filter off or out and then peel off the caked fluff from the thing and then you insert or push or twist it back on.
No probs. Although, I've broken a few of those, too, in my time.
So today I'm to put a load in the dryer and dry it.
"I know, I know," I said. "And check the filter".
To which the wife said "Yes."
So I did that. 
But the machine stopped after about five minutes. I'd managed to push enough digital, backlit buttons to launch the TET offensive but still it only worked for five minutes. Then it stopped and a couple of small drawings came on the machine, also backlit.
I peered at the tiny flashing drawings.
"Fucking Chinese," I said.
I couldn't see the drawings proper and even if they were not blurred I still wouldn't have understood what they meant.
They were like ancient hieroglyphics, except kinda Chinese globalistic. One of them looked like a figure of an under-aged, underpaid worker diving off a tall building. The other looked like a jet airliner flying into the sea.
They were both fiery red so I assumed the worst.
I opened the fluff filter drawer, unscrewed the compression hatch, gingerly slid out the bee hive slat which was mysteriously wet, scraped the fluff and asbestos-coloured honey into the bin while trying not to breathe it in and then reassembled everything and hit a few of the digital displays again.
Again after five minutes it stopped, mid-flight.
I checked the fluff drawer again. Nothing.
I turned it off and on again.
Same thing.
Then I unplugged it and counted to twenty and turned it on again. Still the same thing.
Then I noticed another drawer near the flashing lights.
"What the fuck?" I said to ground control.
Ground control was the memory of my wife's voice telling me all about the fluff filter.
She had said nothing, ever, about a second drawer.
Without prior approval I opened the top drawer. It was in the place where a washing machine's detergent drawer is.
"Surely," I said to no one. "There's no such a thing as dryer detergents."
I slid out the drawer, it was heavy as a swimming pool on a cruise ship.
And it sloshed around like one, too.
"What the fuck?" I repeated.
Seven years. I've never seen or heard of a water collection tub on the dryer. That explained the wetness in the fluff filter.
Now the drawings made more sense.
So when I was telling my wife all about this she was doing two things. A) she was telling me how she's always told me about the water collection tub on our dryer, and B) she's trying to remember where she left her goddamn purse cos if I remember where it is before she does she will have to let go of the points she is scoring with the dryer. 
I raise my finger and say "Ah ha!"
Then I walk outside, straight to her car, open the rear passenger door, check under the driver's seat, and pull out her purse. 
It may not be my only superpower but it's my favourite.

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