I haven’t spent much time at the typeface of late as I’ve either been too unwell to feel motivated to write, or too preoccupied with work and a house full of visitors. As such I’ve been a bit delayed with my writing. I owe some correspondence to some of my local friends, as well as some friends from overseas and I started to try and rectify that on Sunday afternoon.
I only got one letter out of the way before sadly running out of time to do more. I then went to my writing folio and discovered that I was out of overseas stamps to send this letter off with, and as such it ended up getting cast into my work bag so that I could stick a stamp to it the first opportunity I got to pop by the post office and get one. The letter was to Cameron from the ‘Living in the woods‘ blog, and it is quite over-due.
The trouble with working in a hospital is that it tends to consume more of your life than you expect. On Monday I found myself starting work several hours before the shops opened, and finishing several hours after they closed. Tuesday however was a public holiday here in Melbourne (for nothing less than the Melbourne Cup horse race) but I still ended up getting called into work. As I left home that day I climbed on my motorbike with my bag over my shoulder can chest, however miss Jane insisted that I should put my bag in one of the bike’s panniers (saddle bags) so that I’d have a more comfortable ride. My work bag is getting pretty heavy and it sort of made sense. However my bag is bigger than the pannier, and tends to stick out a bit too much for my comfort so I hadn’t been doing that.
I went with it, and it did feel much more comfortable. So on the return ride home after work I put the bag in the pannier again. This however turned out to be a big mistake.
I was riding pretty much right on the speed limit all the way home along the freeway. This meant that I was going at 100K/mh (about 63M/ph) while the sun was drifting down over the horizon off to my right. I kept the bike at the full speed limit as I took a bend at the merge point between two freeways, and noticed a car towing a horse float coming up behind me at greater speed. This seemed ridiculously unsafe, and at the conclusion of the bend I drifted into another lane to let them pass.
As they did they the passenger leaned out the window of the car and yelled out to me while pointing at my pannier. I instantly knew what this meant; my bag was gone.
And gone it was. I stopped and looked, then found the next freeway exit and circuited the freeway again in the hope of picking it up. As I returned the way I came I looked over the other side of the road to see a ute with pink sign-writing on it, parked in an unusual location and I felt pretty sure that they had just grabbed my bag off the road. My heart sank but I still continued on in the hope that I would find it.
I circuited the freeway three times and I didn’t find it. It was pretty clear that my bag had been picked up and I thought was probably gone for good. I felt despondent and low. Everything in the bag was replaceable, but few things came to mind that I felt particularly bad about. The first were my reading glasses. I spend two thirds of my day looking at either a monitor or patient paperwork, and I only had one pair of glasses that were currently serviceable – which were in that bag.
Secondly, I had a clipboard and notepad filled with notes that I had taken about upcoming surgery lists. While nothing identified particular patients, there was information that I needed to complete my work for the next three weeks. This however could be gotten again with a bit of effort – so I wasn’t too worried.
But the third one made me quite sad. It was a ‘rainbow loom’ bracelet that had been made for me by one of the patients I looked after in children’s oncology ward in Brisbane. it is a bit of a reminder that working your arse off is worth it, and now it was gone.
And the letter. The letter was now gone too, but I had completely forgotten about this letter at the time. There’s a lot of stuff in my bag that I take on a daily basis, and to be honest I didn’t really know how much I had actually lost. I was just thankful that on this occasion I didn’t pack my iPad to take to work as I often do – in fact it was one of the rare days that I didn’t.
Fortunately my wallet and phone were in my pocket, but they had been in the bag on the trip to work earlier in the day.
The bag was expensive but not irreplaceable. In fact to cheer myself while I finished the ride home I thought about what I would like to replace it with. But nothing was going to beat the frustration of losing everything important for work in one hit. To add to my misery, in the process of circuiting the freeway my bike ran out of fuel. I stopped on the side of the road and switched the bike to its reserve tank then kept riding, but dusk was now fading, and it was now becoming very late. My helmet was splatted with post sunset bugs, and I just felt low.
I pulled into the driveway and didn’t even open the garage door to put my bike away. I stood up and stripped my helmet and gloves off, and as I did Jane popped her head outside the front door of the house. “Come inside” she beckoned.
“Do I seem a little naked”? I said back to her.
She didn’t even ask me what I meant by my statement. I felt a little confused, and with my bike jacket still on I came into the house with my helmet in my hand. There, sitting on a chair just inside the doorway was my bag.
“They just dropped it off. You need to give them a call” miss Jane said as she handed me the business card of the person that had given her the bag.
“You know, it is just as well you had this in your bag”. Jane pulled out the letter that I’d wrote to Cameron and pointed to my address on the back. I sat down and considered my luck on this as a post-adrenalin headache kicked in when I started to calm.
I called the number on the business card and thanked them as deeply as I could, and was touched by their efforts to get the bag back to me. “Just spreading the good karma” the guy’s daughter said to me as we chatted, who also revealed to me that the ute with the pink sign-writing down the side was theirs. They’d spotted the bag and did a big manoeuvre to pick it up, and when they searched inside they saw the notes and realised that they were important. When they found the letter they then looked up my address, and brought the bag home to me.
Anyhow, I want to send them something as a thank-you and I’m not sure what to send.
No, I’ve got to get that letter in the mail. It is Wednesday evening, and I finally got to pick up some stamps this afternoon.