Lost & Found
No, this isn't my costume or a carved jack-o-lantern.
It took me six years but I finally did it. I left something on the bus. I don't usually carry things home. I'm very creative with getting everything into my backpack but the other day I had too many things and too small a pack, so I toted home my acrylic trifle bowl and a black plate used for my Leftover Halloween Candy Bundt Cake in my favorite cotton net shopping bag.
When we got to the park&ride, a regular rider chatted with me as we pulled up and I got up and walked off without it. I didn't realize it until the bus pulled away and then it was too late. In my anxiety, I even forgot about an iPhoto training session at the Apple store (obviously I was stressed to forget that in my Mac-mania!). I immediately went home and filed a lost & found (L&F) report with TriMet, our mass transit authority.
Several days later, I got a call from the L&F department, my items were turned in. The problem. The items were across the river--some ways from my workplace. I had a great idea and hoped I would see a regular, Cork, who works at TriMet and maybe bribe him with some cookies to pick it up and hand it off at the bus-stop. After 3 days of missing him, I surrendered and planned my trip to TriMet Central.
I used their website and planned my trip. I timed it as well as I could to hop a bus, get there, give myself 15 mins. or so to wait and get my stuff, go back out and hop a bus back downtown and my own bus home. It all looked good on paper.
I admit to being a jumpy bus-rider. I'm always afraid I will miss my stop so I sit, trigger-happy to leap off the bus as soon as I realize it is my stop. I watched and waited and heard 17th and xxxxx and figured this was it and jumped off. I was roughly 4 blks. shy of the place. Jumped too quick. Ok...not a problem. I can walk pretty fast. I took off at a good pace and made good time and saw the place and went in.
I talked to the woman behind the counter and she told me someone was in front of me and pointed to a guy talking on a phone. The process is you call L&F on the phone, give him your claim #, he brings it down to you and you leave. Sounds simple. The guy on the phone didn't have a claim #. He was there to have the guy look for the item. So, I sat, watching the clock, thinking "no problem". Worse case, I miss the bus, have to catch the next one and miss mine home and catch the next one after that. Calm...
The guy finally hangs up. I jump on the phone, hit the L&F button and talk to the guy. Yes, I have my claim # and rattle it off. Time is good. I'm feeling pretty good. As soon as I hang up, this guy sitting across from us (who was there before me) gets up and comes over to use the phone. I'm immediately guilt-stricken. I jumped in front of this guy. I had no idea he was waiting for the phone. The woman behind the counter didn't mention him. I started to apologize but then quickly realized he was too busy talking to the L&F guy--so I waited. As I'm listening, he tells the guy he lost a backpack and was called. No, he didn't have his claim #--he forgot it. So, we have to go through when he lost it, what it looked like, what was in it, etc.
In the meantime, another guy shows up for L&F (seems to be the day!). He gets the same speech I did--get in line for the phone. So, he waits all this time for the young dude with the lack of brains to bring his claim #. Finally the dude gets off the phone. The new guy (he has his claim #) grabs the phone, calls L&F and is told "I'm working on two--you'll have to wait" and hangs up. He's a little miffed but he's shrugging it off. So, we wait. I watch the clock. My time is running out. New guy with his claim # starts to complain a little. The woman explains that one guy is the L&F department. I'm thinking "how many buses, how many light rail trains, how many people forget things on the bus" and I'm staggered by one man doing all of this. And I'm watching the clock.
It dawns on me that it is taking so long because L&F guy is looking for the brainless, claim#less guy's backpack before he brings my stuff--WHICH I had my claim # for!! I want to wring that dude's neck. I'm going to miss my bus to my other bus that I will miss...because he is too dumb to bring the claim #. FINALLY, the L&F guy shows up with the items (and yes, he has both so I KNOW I waited for him to find that punk's backpack!). :)
I rush out the door, run down the street to the bus-stop--only to realize I ran the wrong direction. It's back behind me. As I turn, I see my bus sitting there. I'm going to miss the bus by seconds!! I start walking fast--hoping against hope that the bus will wait. The woman driver sees me and nods--she realizes I'm running and waits. NICE lady!! I jump on the bus. We are good. I'm on the right bus at the right time to get back to my bus-stop to get home.
Behind me I hear a woman excitedly talking on her cell-phone about passing her agility test at TriMet and getting the job. I'm trying to envision this. My only experience with agility tests is with dogs. They go over hurdles, through tunnels, weave in and out of poles. I'm wondering if they do these tests with drivers..... I smile, happy for the woman because I have a friend struggling to find a job and I know she would feel the same need to call a friend on the phone and tell her she got a job. I quit smiling by the 3rd call to the 3rd person with the 3rd recital of her agility test and subsequent employment. I'm still happy for the woman but I wish she would quit calling new people and telling the whole thing over again. But, I'm on time, heading for my bus, going home so I'm ok.
We get near to my jump-off stop and the driver stops and sits and starts reading something. I'm two stops up from my stop...and she quits driving! I'm watching the clock. Finally, she puts the literature down and starts driving again. When we get to the next stop, I decide my feet are more dependable than her bus so I jump off and start walking fast again. I'm not sure how soon my bus comes. I race around the corner and see my stop--and no one is standing there. I'm sure I missed the bus.
I go stand at the stop--waiting for the next bus. At least I know another one is coming. As I'm waiting, I see one of the regulars coming, playing his harmonica and he is a sight for sore eyes! I know my bus hasn't come yet since he's coming. I tell him the whole story and he gets a laugh about me and all my buses and adventures at TriMet. Considering I had left 1 hour ago, ridden 2 buses and dealt with bureaucracy and lazy lads and monotonous cell-phone users and other sundry characters on the buses, I was amazed at how it all worked out. So, now you know that the odd photo at the top shows my wayward items: a clear acrylic bowl, a black plate and a cotton web shopping bag.
Hopefully it will take me another 6 years to do something so dumb. :) Too bad I didn't have an iPhone like my two nephews to document it all in photos. :)