Yesterday morning, just before 11 am, I found myself racing through Reading Terminal Market, looking for the stairs that would take me up to the administrative offices. As I walked, I pulled my gloves off and folded my umbrella, trying to get myself presentable for the meeting I was about to have. The scarf came next, and as I unraveled it from my neck, I heard a clink that sounded something like a few beans being dropping into an empty jar. The sound registered in my head and I thought briefly about whether I could have pulled a necklace off with my scarf, before remembered that I wasn’t wearing a necklace.
I kept going and arrived at the meeting slightly breathless and two minutes late. As we sat down to talk, I shook my head gently to get my hair out of my face and realized that I only felt the jangling of earrings from one side of my head. Reaching up, I confirmed that I was only wearing one earring and that the other one must have been what I heard fall. I pulled the lone earring off as discreetly as I could while talking and tucked it into my bag. The meeting went really well (if it becomes what I hope it becomes, I will be telling you all more about it soon) and I was on my way.
As I headed back downstairs, I started to retrack my steps, hoping that maybe I would be able to find the errant earring. I was already starting to feel the pangs of loss that come when you no longer have something you like as I peered under tables and along the sides of stalls. It was a pair that my sister’s friend had made for her and I had coveted for a few years. During my last trip home I had finally managed to talk Raina into surrendering them to me (I was successful mostly because Raina recently stretched her ears to accomodate large hunks of wood and so can’t really wear regular earrings anymore) and I didn’t particularly want to tell her that I had lost one.
I had only been looking for about 90 seconds when I glanced around a plastic garbage can and spotted the earring, sitting there quietly as if it was waiting for me to come back for it. I reached down and snatched it up, celebrating internally that I had found it. A few people had been watching me as I looked under the tables and when I straightened up I made eye contact with one man who gave me a grin and a thumbs up sign.
Finding something you’ve lost in a public place is, at least in my book, one of the top five most satisfying things that can happen in life.
I think my success rate is less than 10%. I do know the feeling, though. It’s a little victory over happenstance and thoughtlessness that we need to win once in a while. Keeps us sane.
Objects bring on new meaning when we have found them after almost losing them. They’re a little more valuable to us. I guess it’s because maybe we feel like we have saved something?
I had a somewhat similar moment with my moleskine a few months back, when I accidentally left my notebook on top of the car as I was leaving for work. It fell off in the middle of the street, and before a kind, risk-taking fellow motorist picked it up from the asphalt, it got run over by a few passing cars.
Now the pronounced scratches on the cover of the book just reinforce the books quality character in my eyes. And, like Anthony said, the return success rate is probably at or near 10%, but that’s part of the reason you treasure these moments.
And tangentially, The Top Five Most Satisfying Things that Can Happen in Life sounds like a worthy book title and concept. Perhaps an anthology of second hand stories or meditations?
I stumbled over to your apt 2024 by way of My Sick Mind…
I love this story. These are the kinds of things that happen to me and I forget to tell people about!
Finding something lost is an amazing moment.
I thought I lost my cat of 15 years a while back and I was sick over it…
When she came out of god knows where..I had torn the house apart…I grabbed her and hugged her and wouldn’t let go!
As a kid I prided myself on being able to find the lost things…the shag carpet of the 70’s offered many opportunities! 😉 I used to refer to myself as “Eagle Eye” LOL!!!!
Like Howard, I lost a couple of things by forgetting them on top of a vehicle. The first time, it was a very important book: my planner with some important documents stuffed inside (I always get the kind that zips up so you can store things). I got a call the next day from a DOT worker, who happened upon it while cleaning I676. Yes. 676. I was very grateful when I picked it up from him, with all its contents, although quite roughed up.
The second time, it was my music folder for church. My wonderful sister offered to go back and search for it after I had realized my error (at church!), and she said some neighbor of mine had thoughtfully collected what he could (the music was strewn over a couple of streets near my apartment by that time), and placed it on the sidewalk with a rock on top (windy day). Certainly, regaining that was among the top satisfying moments for me. Especially given that, again, I had some really important personal documents stuck inside the folder.