I tend to leave things, I lose things all the time. And I am always running late. My mind is usually preoccupied with so many other thoughts, and that with the constant rushing and hurrying...well, it can be a frustrating combination. I get frustrated with myself, my husband will get exasperated. I will forget my purse at home and only realize it when i get to my destination. I'll leave my cell phone in the shopping cart at the grocery store, because I was texting while hurriedly pushing the cart and loading the car one handed. One particular incident, I loaded the groceries, got in the car, and was on the freeway before I realized it. I reached for my phone and boom! The image of my zebra encased cell phone chillin on the shopping cart floated into my mind. When I retrieved it, I was so embarrassed of myself that I remember sheepishly looking around to see if anyone noticed me running to the shopping cart station like a mad woman with panicked expression on my face. I had 2 texts, but of course, I didn't reveal a thing to anyone (I did confess to my husband a few days later, but I didn't feel any of that "truth will set you free" crap when he started laughing and shaking his head and finger at me).
There was an even worse cell phone incident where I Ieft it in Michigan...I live in Ohio. But we won't go there.
I leave my Camelbak water bottle at the gym more times than I can count. And those f******* are not the cheapest! I've had 6 different ones in the past 2 years. Meaning on average, I lose one every 4 months. Not the best track record. It would be more than that, but my gym doesn't have the best cleaning crew, so sometimes I'll come back dejectedly the next day to find my water bottle unexpectedly waiting for me where I absentmindedly left it. Oh the joy! This last time, I kissed the damn thing when I saw it.
Why am I revealing these unflattering details of my personality. Well, the water bottle actually inspired this blog. Two weeks ago, I noticed that someone left their water bottle in the spin room. I picked it up and held it my hand for a moment, and thought to myself, "What do I do when i realize I've left my water bottle?" 1) If I am already home or too far away when I realize it, I'll call the front desk and ask them to go get it for me and save it. Unfortunately, they'll put me on hold and forget about me or they tell me they'll check in 5 min and call me back. But they never do. Bottom line: they never find it. Or, 2) I'll come back to look where I left it (after i check in with the nonexistent lost & found). Again, I am unlucky.
Allow me to make a digression here that expands upon my gripe about lost & found. About 3 years ago, I left my iPod in the cup holder of an elliptical I was using at my gym in Toledo. I was newly married, only 4 months. Now, this wasn't just any iPod. It was the surprise gift of an iPod that my amazing, loving husband gave me when we were still engaged. I was living in California, he was in Ohio, and he surprised me with a little package (who doesn't love surprise package deliveries, let alone the packages one IS expecting?!). The iPod came with its own little runner's case, he had "named" it a very sweet name so when I plugged it into my iTunes it showed up as "_________ 's iPod". And it was filled with all different kinds of songs: his favorites, my favorites, our favorites.
And the moment I realized I left it, I called immediately. I got "No...Sorrrry!" in response to my asking if anyone turned anything in. The girl supposedly went and checked the fated machine, again, no luck. The next day, I checked in the ominous lost & found: a big blue bin that I swear contained the same green sweatshirt and workout gloves for the two years I lived in Toledo. I would know this, we checked the bin alot. After two weeks, I stopped checking the bin. The pregnant girl working her usual shift would see me walk in, and shake her head before she even checked me in. I gave up the hope that someone would turn it in. I was bitter and I felt mad at myself and guilty about losing such a special gift.
Then about 2 months later, I don't know what possessed me to ask again, but I did. The answer was no again, but here's the kicker. The next day, I walk in, give Miss Preggers my key tab, when she says, "Oh wait!" She walks back and opens a drawer, then asks, "Is thisss your iPod?" Oh how the angels sung! There, bathed in the sunlight streaming in from the side window, glowing and beautiful, was my iPod!
I was very composed. "What the hell? Is this some kind of joke?"
Miss Preggers hesitates for a moment, then says, "Oh no, I mean, yesterday, when you asked about it, I felt guilty."
"What do you mean you felt guilty? Did someone just turn it in?"
"No, I mean, when it was first turned in, I thought it was mine. I had one just like it that I lost too."
"Ok, but when you took it home and plugged it into your iTunes and saw that it says a different name, why wouldn't you bring it back?"
"I had given it to my brother right away to upload songs for me, and he didn't tell me until like last week that it had a weird name on it when he loaded it up. Then you asked yesterday. So I knew it was yours and I had to give it back."
Weird name? Strike 3.
"Alright listen here b****..."
No, no, no, I'm just kidding. I wanted to go off on her, but she's an out-of-wedlock pregnant 19-year-old (we got to know each other conversing over the damn L & F bin)...I don't know, I couldn't do it. So instead I said:
"I hope you realize that the story you just told me doesn't make any sense at all. You let me come in here and ask you every day for two weeks and you had the nerve to tell me that you never saw an iPod, when the whole time you had taken it for yourself. I can report you to your manager and get your ass fired. But I won't, because I know that you're stupid enough to get your ass fired all by yourself." And with that, I turned on my heel and stormed off in a flurry.
After about another month, I never saw her again. Baby? Fired? Who knows...but hence, my lack of faith in the lost and found. And that is why turning in the water bottle wasn't on the top of my options list.
So, I thought, this person will realize it and come back to the spin room to look for their bottle. I set it down and walked out. The next day, it was still there. I had a moment of frustration, a flash of anger. Why does the cleaning service spare this water bottle, but my beautiful Camelbaks in cheerful colors get swiped in the blink of an eye. I picked it up again and walked to the trash can. It hovered over the can for a good long minute. All was quiet, expect for the sound of my agitated breathing and the wisp of the fan in the corner.
I didn't throw it away.
Three days later, it was still there. The following Monday, it was still chillin. Again, I thought to myself to throw it out. But this time, my counter argument wasn't just one of conscience and guilt (yes, I'd feel guilty even though this stupid person obviously does not miss their water bottle as much as I do mine!). But I had a flash of the word karma. No one can see me throw it out...hell, no one will even notice its missing. Why shouldn't I just fulfill my impulse and take my private revenge on the poor unassuming bottle?
Well, I never thought I was one to be superstitious or particularly spiritual in that regard. But the concept of what goes around comes around, I can jive with that. I do believe that those cheaters, the ones who always take the short cut but still end up on top, who pretend to work "hard" but instead partner up with the class nerd and get those undeserving accolades, stress-free, will one day get their due. They'll get a hard break, and look around and realize there's no one there to lend a hand. I believe in that, because my experiences have always been the hard way. I can never, ever catch a break. It's like doing calculus long-hand: I could never get my hands on a damn calculator.
But during this inner debate over to toss or not to toss, I thought that maybe (jusssst maybe!) this good deed will go accounted for on the water-bottle-saver ledger somewhere, and I'll get the favor returned to me some time in the future. If not, well, I guess I can live with the fact that I did something nice for a stranger.
So in that moment with the sacrificial water bottle, I thought to myself: well, no one will know, but I will. Yet again, I didn't throw the bottle away. I checked yesterday and it was gone. I don't know if the owner came back to claim it, happy and grateful to find it where he/she left it (I am pretty sure it was a she, the bottle was a rosy shade of pink, but nowadays you never know, sooo...) or if it was finally tossed or taken by someone else. But I comforted and have entertained myself with the image in my mind of that person's smile and excitement, the "Yes! It's still here!" as he/she holds the bottle up admiringly and smiles big....I have experienced it, a few times. It's a fun feeling. For me, it's usually fleeing because I'll do something stupid again to replace it. But I couldn't bring myself to steal that away from someone. In one word, my actions were considerate.
How many of us often take consideration into consideration?