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Friday, October 31st, 2008

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. :)

Wow, Linda, that's some story! And I don't see any future cookie recipients in it! Too bad. But glad everything worked out for you and you got your things back. It's a horrible feeling to be parted with some of your belongings! I'm sure you'll never leave anything on the bus ever again!
!   Friday, October 31, 2008
Quite a wild ride, LG. You are a great storyteller! I was hanging onto my hat! Glad everything worked out for you!
ChinaCalling   Friday, October 31, 2008
I was sure your story was going to end well. Here is what I predicted while reading. The guy without the claim ticket would end up with your goods and you with his. You would open his backpack to find it stuffed with one hundred dollar bills (a million dollars worth) and then call a cab to take you home. The driver would get a really big tip. I've got to do something about my over active imagination!!!
Leslie   Friday, October 31, 2008
LOL...it was a little crazy but funny afterwards. It wasn't like I couldn't replace the items--not expensive or rare but that trifle bowl has been with me a long time...cracks and all! Some things are more sentimental than worth a lot. :) Glad you enjoyed the story. :)
LGrant   Friday, October 31, 2008
LOL...Leslie...yours is a better story. Maybe I could have ended up with his backpack that had $3 in it that I felt obliged to take back to him and blog that to start a rant to end rants on Humzoo about the right and wrong of returning only $3. :)
LGrant   Friday, October 31, 2008
Too funny Linda! You deserve to keep the $3 for all the stress he put you through.
Leslie   Friday, October 31, 2008
Wow I am exhausted but so glad it turned out ok. We are not too acclaimated to public transportation, The other day, Dennis needed to go pick up a car in Charlotte, He did it last year, It took about an hour and no problem, He rode the bus and the new train and had a great day. I think the total trip cost about $1.50, This year I decided to go with him, he said I was worth the extra money. LOL WELL, we got on the wrong bus in Cornelius, the Village RIder. This bus takes you on a tour of Cornelius! WE HAVE SEEN CORNELIUS!
We found out where to make our connection, but there was a 45 min. wait sooo..... we took two hours to go to Charlotte, cost $1.00 more due to the extra bus and my extra cost. Adventure of the day!
gigi   Saturday, November 1, 2008
LOL...I'm lucky in I have a monthly pass for all zones so it cost me nothing extra to use any type of transportation here during that month: bus, light-rail, street-car, train. As long as it is Tri-Met...it's no extra charge. I try to use it when I can and it isn't so time-consuming or complicated. My car dealership is 20 mi. from my house but 1/2 mi. from the MAX (light-rail). I can take that back and forth to pick up my car and save having to sit and wait or find a ride to and from work. It was frustrating when I got here since my Saturn dealership in MN was 1 mi. from the house with longer hours and drop-in option for servicing. So, the MAX does help.

Glad you guys made it finally. I'm always nervous in bus routes I don't know but mostly I manage with minimal side-trips. LOL
LGrant   Saturday, November 1, 2008
I'm glad it worked out but I liked Leslie's version better! I am not comfortable riding buses-just haven't had the opportunity.
dannie   Saturday, November 1, 2008
I was pretty nervous about it the first time. And my jumpy bus-riding nature has gotten me on the wrong bus or off at the wrong stop several times. Like my sister, I got the scenic tour of Lake Oswego once when I hopped the wrong bus because it ended in the same number (6) as my bus. When it turned the wrong corner and started stopping at stops--I got suspicious--mine is an express. It was a pretty day and I did enjoy the view...but had a problem focusing on it because I had images of walking miles or being stuck on buses for days to find my way home.

Speaking of bus stories, one rider told me an amusing story of a rider who hopped the bus and when she got off at the park&ride remembered that she had driven to work that day...and her car was back downtown. LOL I'm guessing she had to hop another bus back downtown to get her car. So, far, I haven't done that (yet). :)
LGrant   Saturday, November 1, 2008
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