This afternoon I finally finished reading Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please – my #SpringBreakRead no.3! She ends the book with a story about forgetting her laptop at a TSA checkpoint, losing with it about 50 or 60 pages of that very book saved on the hard drive. She spent a full day in complete despair until she received and email notifying her that her laptop had been recovered and she could pick it up at the LAX lost and found immediately!
I realized I have an almost identical story, though it doesn’t involve losing months of writing or hundreds of dollars… You see, in April of last year I lost my bus pass. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Losing a €20 monthly bus pass doesn’t seem as devastating as losing a computer, Anne!” I know I know. Especially since spring vacation was coming up and I would hardly need to use the bus anyway…
But I was still genuinely upset! My pass consisted of an identity card with a horrifying passport-style photo of me, bundled with a monthly subscription ticket that allowed me unlimited bus rides for only €20. Considering I look the bus about 4 times per day during the week, this was a pretty sweet deal. Each month’s ticket was a different color, and I was always secretly excited when buying the new ticket on the first day of each month to see what bright new color I would get to see every morning. I was genuinely upset to lose this souvenir, a new item to add to my growing collection of transportation passes along with my SmarTrip, old MTA Subway cards, a Chicago Ventra card, and my coveted Paris Passe Navigo. I was genuinely upset to also lose the Ville de Chambéry library card I kept tucked in with my bus tickets, something I used only a few times but was extremely proud of and attached to.
I wracked my brain for where it could possibly be! I searched the lining of my jacket; one of my pockets had a big hole and I often lost keys and change there, but this time it was empty. I went to the grocery store and asked if it had been returned. The woman sifted through three drawers of lost credit cards, glasses, wallets, and lipsticks with no luck. I went to the main ticket office of the bus line and asked if it had been returned there. It had not. I imagined it slipping out of my pocket, landing with a quiet thwap on the wet cobblestones, completely unnoticed by me.
I sucked it up and bought two weeks worth of single day tickets. Amy Poehler only had to suffer through 24 hours of missing her computer but I spent the next week a half trying to keep track of the tiny purple pieces of paper, praying I didn’t run out before Spring Break.
Vacation came and went, and when I returned from my 2-week jaunt, I had a letter. Can you guess what was inside? YES! MY BUS PASS!! At this point, it was completely useless to me. There was only one more week in April, and I would leave the city permanently during the first week of May, but I was still SO thrilled! Someone had picked it up, read the contact information inside, and instead of throwing it in the trash, or leaving it on the ground, they had even gone through the trouble of mailing it back to me!
Unlike Amy’s computer, losing my bus pass didn’t mean losing hours of work or hundreds of dollars. But this little, beat up item that lived the majority of its life in my coat pocket stored memories of a vital part of my daily life: my commute. Every time I missed the bus, every time the bus pulled in late, every time I ran into someone I knew on the bus, every time I got on the wrong bus by mistake, these colorful cards were there.
I’m not sure who found it or how it made its way back to me, but I am so grateful.
Just like Amy says in her book: “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone.” ❂
Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.