Losing things
Do you often lose things? What can we do to avoid losing things? Why do some people lose things more often than others? What will you do if you find something lost by others?
  • To drive someone up the wall (idiom) - to make someone extremely angry.
  • To keep track (of someone/something) (idiom) - to continue to be informed or know about someone or something.
  • Side effect (noun) - an unpleasant effect of a drug, medical treatment, or vaccine (= a substance put into a person's body to stop them from getting a disease) that happens in addition to the main intended effect.
  • Keep your/an eye on something/someone (idiom) - to watch or take care of something or someone.
  • Noticeable (adj.) - easy to see or recognize.
  • Slip someone's memory/mind (idiom) - to be forgotten.
  • Genetic (adj.) - belonging or relating to genes (= parts of the DNA in cells) received by each animal or plant from its parents.
  • To note something down (phrasal verb) - to write something so that you do not forget it.
  • Valuable (adj.) - worth a lot of money.
  • Inexpensive (adj.) - not costing a lot of money.
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Questions and Answers
M: Do you often lose things?

R: Other than my mind when people are driving me up the wall? Not really, actually. I'm pretty good at keeping track of where everything is. I went through a phase of thinking I lost my keys all the time recently. But I think that's just a side effect of it being a new thing to keep an eye on after I bought the house I live in.

M: What can we do to avoid losing things?

R: I think that depends on what it is. In my house, everything has its place. So I always know where things are. And it would be pretty noticeable if they were missing. I used to keep my keys on a keychain that was attached to my belt. So I suppose people could do something similar with other small items. I don't need to, but they could.

M: Why do some people lose things more often than others?

R: I honestly have no idea. But then I'm speaking from the position of being a fairly organized person. So it's pretty easy for me to avoid losing my stuff. Maybe certain people have a lower working memory capacity. So things often slip their mind more easily. Memory is connected to biology. So it wouldn't surprise me if it was a genetic thing. Other people could be really busy and just not have the time to note down where everything is.

M: What will you do if you find something lost by others?

R: Well, obviously, if I know the person, then returning it to them is the natural choice. But if I don't know the owner, and it's something valuable, like a lot of money or a piece of jewellery, then the police station is probably the best place for it. Since at least in my country, people often check in there when they lose things. I suppose if it's like a random inexpensive thing, like a lighter than I might just hang on to it. I mean, they're like 10 a penny, so I doubt anyone would miss it if they lost one.
M: Thank you, Rory, for your answers! What about losing your mind? Can I say that, oh, you know, sometimes I lose my mind?

R: Well, if you're trying to make a joke out of the thing then yes. But I was just thinking there. I was like, no, really, I don't lose things. So I can afford to give a silly answer to this question.

M: Yeah, like once I lost my brain. My brain disappeared. Where is it? I couldn't find my brain. Yeah, so we can crack jokes, dear listener, alright? But here, losing things, so just like things like keys, your smartphones. I don't know...

R: I think most people lose their keys or maybe some small items they have inside their wallets.

M: Passports? Oh, documents. Documents, there you go.

R: Well, do they lose them or are they afraid of losing them? These are two different things.

M: No, you know, I think like often people lose keys and documents. Because I've lost, I don't know, what, three passports.

R: Really?

M: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

R: Oh, my God. Maria, wow, that's really not good.

M: I know. I know. And, once I lost my passport, and I don't even know how and where I lost it. Can you imagine that?

R: No, I can't. That would be one of the worst things ever to happen.

M: I know, I know. So, dear listener, yeah like documents. Maybe you have your horrible passport story. Do you? I'm sure you do. Driving license, you know? All different documents, they just disappear. Yeah. Rory started this answer in a very interesting way. How?

R: Well, I just said other than my mind when people are driving me up the wall. It's just a way of taking the edge off of the exam experience by cracking a joke. So do you often lose things? Sometimes I lose my mind when people are driving me crazy.

M: So you lose your mind. Yeah? So you become a little bit crazy. Okay? And drive me up the wall. It means to annoy me. So some people drive me up the wall. Some people irritate me. Some people annoy me. A nice idiom for you, dear listener. Yeah. And here, you can say, oh, yeah, sometimes I lose my mind and become crazy when people annoy me when people drive me up the wall. And here it's a question. It's a rhetorical question, which is nice, you know, to show for your pronunciation. So how do I pronounce it?

R: Other than my mind when people drive me up the wall.

M: Then you say I'm pretty good with...
R: But wait. No. STOP. STOP. We need to add a small hint. Do you know? It's an idiom. And do you know what would be wonderful, Maria? If someone were to make a course about idioms. I wonder if one day someone will do that. Some brave soul.

M: Yes.

R: Who could it be?

M: We need a course on idioms. An idioms course. Please. And idioms for my general English, idioms for my IELTS, idioms for my Cambridge exams, idioms just for me, and for my friends. And for all my family.

R: It could be in the works. Who knows. Keep an eye out (which is also an idiom).

M: And then, you tell the examiner, I'm pretty good with keeping track of where everything is. So I'm pretty organized, I'm good with things, keep track of something. So kind of you know where things are. So keep track of where everything is. To know where everything is.

R: You can also keep track of the time. And on the subject of losing things, you can lose track of the time as well.

M: You can say I'm not pretty good at keeping track of where my things are. Or I'm pretty good at keeping track of where my things are. And also you say that sometimes I feel I lose things. But actually, I don't. So this side effect Rory was talking about.

R: Yeah, a side effect is like an unfortunate consequence of some action. So, I just bought a house, and I have new keys for this house, and sometimes I struggle to find them because I am not used to having these keys with me all the time. Indeed, I'm not used to locking my door all the time. I never do this.

M: To keep an eye on something. So when we talk about things like you need to keep an eye on your things. On your private items, right? So keep an eye on your documents, keep an eye on your things. How can I use it in a sentence? In the context of losing things, keeping things in the right place?

R: I'm pretty good at keeping an eye on my stuff. Or I've never been good at keeping an eye on things.

M: Yeah, excellent. Avoid doing something, avoid losing things. Or like I can't avoid losing my things. Or like I keep losing my things all the time. In my house, everything has its place. That's why I never lose anything. In my house, everything is all over the place. So everything, kind of I keep losing things.

R: Someone said that to me recently, they were visiting and they were like, oh, my God, your house is so tidy. My house looks like something's exploded inside of it. And I just said, yes, it looks like that. But I also have this cupboard where everything is actually piled in in a very untidy way. And everything just goes in there until I can organize it later.

M: Yeah, so my house is tidy, or it's not tidy like something has exploded in my house. Well, you know, everything is everywhere. You know? And you can say that, like, my house is tidy. So it's pretty noticeable if something is missing. So if you lose something, it's missing. Like I always notice if something is missing, if it's kind of... if it's not there. And then a good example with keys, dear listener. Like I used to keep my keys on a keychain. So where do we keep our keys? On a key chain. On this special thing. On a special ring where the keys are. Or you can say like I used to do it but not anymore, or I used to keep my keys in this, I don't know, place, but not anymore. Or, for example, you keep your keys on a keychain which is attached to your belt. Kind of not to lose the keys. And for example, you can say like, I'm usually very careful with my small items. So small items like keys, cards, I don't know, passes. Passes to like, I don't know, what? Passes. A pass to a gym or a pass... What do you call them? These kind of cards.
R: Membership cards? But most people keep their membership cards in their phone, or on their phone, or in their wallet. If you have a wallet. I don't have a wallet. But you could.

M: I'm a fairly organized person. Fairly? Like I'm pretty organized. So you can say I'm pretty organized, or I'm an article, I'm a pretty organized person, I am a fairly organized person. Or I'm not. I'm not organized, or I'm not an organized person. So I...

R: I'm a disorganized person.

M: I am a disorganized person. So I keep losing things. Or I'm organized. So it's easy for me to avoid losing my stuff. My stuff? My things. My private items, small items. And then you can say like, it's a genetic thing. So when you don't know the answer, you just say genetics. It's a genetic thing. Genetic thing, meaning that my parents kept losing things, and I keep losing things. People lose things, they forget things because they don't have enough time to note down where everything is. To note down, to take notes. So do people really write things down? I mean, like, okay, write it down, like my keys are in my left-hand pocket.

R: Well, I do. I note down things. So I don't forget them or so I don't lose them. But you can also take a mental note of where something is as well. It doesn't have to be a written one.

M: Yeah, kind of like you put your phone close to the TV and you kind of like, okay, a mental note, okay, okay, I remember this, my phone is here. Just not automatic. Like put it there and just like go away. Return it to them. So you find an item, which was lost by other people, so you could return it to them. Yeah? So this is the natural choice. So return the item to the owner.

R: Yeah. I mean, that's why I was thinking like, obviously, it's like, what would you do if you found something that somebody lost? And it's like, well, if you know the person, you give it back to them. So it's obvious, it's the natural choice. And usually, the expression would be the natural choice or is a natural choice.

M: People lose some valuable items, like jewellery, jewellery pieces, and money. So you could take it to the police station. It's the best place for it. Also, if you find a document, like a passport, you can report it, you can go to the police station, and actually like show it to them, like give it to them. And also you can write on special forums. For example, when I found a passport next to my house, like in the neighbourhood, I wrote to the group on social media, where people get together from my neighbourhood. And actually, the girl also read the messages in this group. And like she noticed my message. And I met her and I gave her passport back to her. She was very happy. You see? A success story.

R: I was thinking that was just in my country. But can you do that in Russia as well?

M: Oh, yeah. I did that. Yeah, people do that.

R: Oh, nice. Okay. I've never had the chance to do it, so I don't know.

M: Yeah, yeah, yeah. it's kind of like if you find the document next to your house, so then like, what's the neighbourhood? And each neighbourhood has some special groups on social media.

R: Oh, okay.
M: But usually kind of it's a bank also. Kind of if you find a credit card, you can just give it back to the bank, for example.

R: Nice.

M: Random, inexpensive items. Like what? I don't know.

R: Well, it used to be that a cigarette lighter was something random and inexpensive. I mean, cigarette lighters used to be something like, I don't know, no more than $1 to buy. I still think it's that. And so because they're so cheap, and people don't usually have them for a specific, sentimental reason. Then if you find one and it works, then you just keep it. This is what I do. Or what I did, when I found these things. I don't think anybody smokes anymore, so you never find lighters. But other things could be like a pen or a pencil. Maybe, you know, even a penny on the street isn't very valuable. So you just pick it up and keep it.

M: Yeah, so you keep an item or you hang on to it. So hang on to something. Which means like keep it. If I find a nice pair of gloves, I might just hang on to it. Hang on to it. Hang on to it.

R: Hang on to it. Or keep a hold of it.

M: Keep a hold of it. I might just keep it. Yeah. I doubt anyone would miss it. Miss it? Like, oh, I don't have my gloves with me. Yeah, and usually people like lose hats, gloves, scarves, for example.

R: Oh, yeah, you see them on the street all the time. I see people's shoes. And I wonder how do you lose a shoe? I mean, surely you would notice this.

M: Alcohol.

R: Oh, yeah.

M: Yeah, if you party hard, dear listener, you just can lose yourself. Okay? And I think these days, lots of items are lost in a taxi.

R: Oh, yeah. I've lost my phone in a taxi.

M: Thank you very much for listening! We hope that you don't lose things, you keep them.

R: Don't lose your mind.

M: Yes, don't lose your soul and yourself. Alright? We'll get back to you in our next episode. Thanks for listening! Bye!

R: Bye!
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