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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bus Stop Miracles

I've slowly come to realize that probably 85% of my ability to function as an adult human is dependent on the sheer kindness of the people around me who do not steal my crap when I leave it lying around everywhere.

Generally, I am an extremely thorough person. On any project I'm working on, I will make sure absolutely every scenario is covered, no stone is left unturned and all details are accounted for. But at the same time, I have a tendency toward extreme flakiness that just refuses to be defeated. Forget my mat at the yoga studio for 3 consecutive weeks? Sure. Leave my car keys in a coffee shop (but remember everything else I am carrying)? Why the heck not. Abandon my driver's license at a random table in the airport? You bet. Each and every one of these things has been returned to me, and I have given up on trying to explain how or why this happens.

It's never going to change. Trust me. And don't even tell me I am being defeatist because there is a big, big difference between being defeatist and being realistic about who I am. I will always love reading more than big parties. I will always be able to memorize a piece of music after singing it two to three times, and I will always forget whatever I am carrying the second I put it down.

My parents are not convinced of this. They really and truly believe that if I develop the right 'system' I'll never forget anything again. Nope. False. I'll just forget the system. For example, getting into my office requires an access badge. If this badge is not in my purse when I leave my house in the morning, I will forget it, guaranteed. In order to make sure this doesn't happen, I take off my badge and put it in my purse every day as I'm leaving the building. The further I get from my desk still wearing the badge, the more dramatically my chances of remembering it in the morning decrease. The system works probably 80% of the time, but without it I'd be batting 200. So no, it's not perfect, but in most circles a 4X improvement is nothing to sniff at. I'll never get to 100%. No system on this earth is ever going to make this happen. Ever. ....Ever. Just deal with it.

During grad school, I took the bus to campus every day and most of the time, I managed to get off the bus with the same amount of stuff I was carrying when I got on the bus (OK aside from one umbrella. Possibly two umbrellas). It was a minor miracle.


One day, during the spring of my first year, I got off the bus, walked into the building and immediately realized that my purse, which I had definitely been carrying when I left my apartment, was no longer on my person. First, I panicked. Then I immediately called metro transit (thankfully my phone had been in my jacket pocket and not in my purse) and spent probably 20-30 minutes being transferred from department to department, trying to contact someone who could tell me whether my purse was still on the bus. Finally, they got ahold of the driver and discovered that nope, my purse was not on the bus.

This is my friend Lindsey and me, probably 3 years ago. Pictured on the table is the offending purse
I cannot even describe what an idiot I felt like at that moment. I had let my attention wander for one second, and now I was completely hosed. I had no money to buy lunch. I had no way of getting home because my cash and my bus pass were in my wallet, and even if I had been able to get home I didn't have keys to get in the building, or car keys to drive anywhere else. I also knew I needed to call the bank and cancel my credit card and debit card, but all the information I needed in order to do so was...inside my locked apartment. Delightful.

Just as I had resigned myself to failure and an afternoon spent on the phone with the bank/at the DMV, I decided to check Facebook for some unknown reason. (kidding, I know exactly what the reason is. Facebook is addicting). I had one new message in my inbox. It was someone I had never met - a medical resident at the University Fairview hospital who wanted to let me know she'd found my purse. I had left it not on the bus like I thought, but at the BUS STOP IN UPTOWN, which is kind of even worse??!?

Not only had this lovely person found my purse before some shady person happened across it, but she also happened to be going to roughly the same destination (the U), AND she was an Ole. We hadn't known each other well but we had a number of mutual friends. Of all the bus stops in all the world, etc.

Don't get me wrong - I have lost things. See the aforementioned umbrellas, my favorite scarf from college (left on an elevator in NYC), my yoga mat strap (left at the studio and I'm pretty sure this one was an accident since it is the same damn black lululemon strap that everyone and their mom has), and I'm sure more that I can't remember. But thankfully, nothing too important (yet).

Anyway. All this to say, it can be hard to find that balance between believing in the essential goodness of people with the reality of the appalling things that we are capable of doing to each other, stealing purses being among the more minor offenders. Beautiful strangers have saved my ass too many times to count. All I can do is keep trying to pay it forward.


  1. wow you are a lucky duck! however, i am inclined to agree with you that MOST people are good and do the right thing. we just gotta keep that good stuff going!

    1. I agree! Both about being lucky, and that most people will do the right thing :)


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