Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Things Left Behind...

Inspired by an anecdote on another writer's blog, I got to thinking about the things we leave behind.  How many of us inadvertently leave something important somewhere and either never get it back or go through hell trying to get it back?

My husband has a bad habit of forgetting his baseball caps in public places.  Just recently he left one behind at the movie theater. When we got back home he asked, "Did I have my hat with me at the movie?"  We both pondered that for a moment.  Then he said, "Yes, I did.  I think I left it on the seat."  Oh well.  We weren't about to drive 30 minutes back to Lincoln just to fetch a baseball cap.  He has others.  And now, I suppose, someone else is wearing his hat.

A number of years ago I'd visited a fast food place for lunch during my lunch break from work. Having only a half hour alloted to me, I got busy eating my food.  I'd draped my new jacket over the back of the chair and never gave it another thought.  It was a warm day and the jacket wasn't really needed. When I glanced at my watch and saw the time, I panicked.  Got to fly back to work since some nosy person would notice if I was late.  I just grabbed my handbag and took off.  Eventually at some point during the day I realized I'd left my new jacket behind.  I called the restaurant and spoke with someone who didn't seem too concerned; he told me the jacket would go to their lost and found area.  I made numerous calls and even returned to the "crime scene." To make a long story short, the last attempt I made to get my jacket back I was told that the supervisor took the jacket home with her.  I never got it back.

Last year at Christmastime I was a scatterbrain shopper who rushed from store to store, frantically trying to do everything in one day.  (grocery shopping, mall shopping, drugstore, post office--you get the idea)  On my final trip (grocery store), when I paid for my groceries, I whipped out my billfold, placed it next to the credit card swiper machine and pulled out some cash.  After paying the clerk, I grabbed my grocery bags, tossed them in my cart and rushed off into the outside world.  Later at home when I wanted to check my receipt, I opened my pocketbook.  Hmm.  The receipt was there, but no billfold.  The billfold is sacred of course since it holds all of my cards--driver's license, credit cards, all kinds of important stuff.  It would be a MAJOR inconvenience if this billfold could not be recovered!  I searched all over the house until it dawned on me--I'd taken the billfold out at the grocery store and apparently had not stuck it back in my pocketbook. I'd left it at the register where ANYONE could just pick it up and take it with them. Oh shit!

But this story has a happy ending. I raced back to the store, the store manager spotted me, the wild-eyed, crazy woman searching for her billfold, and flagged me down. She knew me by sight since I practically live in her store; she'd found my billfold right after I'd left and knew I'd been at that particular register and she tucked it away safe in her office.  Whew!  I dodged the bullet this time around.

I've also left my keys on a city bus, my driver's license at the bank (and amazingly they did not call me to tell me I'd done that), my umbrella at a restaurant, my winter coat at the hospital, and a pair of black panties at a former boyfriend's house (don't ask).

So how about you?  Have you ever left something important behind?


  1. "and a pair of black panties at a former boyfriend's house (don't ask)."

    That has happened to me several times, well where in I play the role of the former boyfriend. As I guy I could never understand how women could do that. I think it is a territorial thing.

    I left a few things behind, such as umbrellas, which I can never seem to remember carrying them in the first place and a pair of new shoes in a French hotel. But no underwear anywhere.


  2. They can be such good stories, can't they? Fortunately, I've never lost anything of huge importance. My husband and I did replaced a shared debit card recently (we still aren't sure what happened, or who lost it), but it was an easy enough fix to call the bank and cancel that particular card.

    My daughter left a very much loved stuffed dog at a theater, despite many reminders not to. By the time we returned, it was closed. Phone calls and a return trip, plus talks to someone we knew behind the scenes who roved the theater for us, all turned out fruitless. We had to settle on tears and the hope that another little girl "adopted" Glitter the Puppy, and has given her a good home.

  3. I had the same thing happen to me in a bookstore I frequent. The owner called me right away. Thank goodness my phone number was on my checks. I'm always leaving stuff behind. My friends in high school used to call me 'Losin' It'.

  4. It was a two part trip. First a six-day teacher conference in San Francisco. On the last day my wife flew in and joined me for part two--a camping trip on the Big Sur Coast. I had a ton of books from the conference on the floor, and bunch of clothes for camping that I'd just kept in my backpack.

    In my excitement to get to the coast I packed up my books and we took off.

    A couple hours down the road I realized that I'd left my hat in one of the drawers in the hotel. Oh well, what's one hat. No big deal. Over the course of the next minute it dawned on me that I had left my conference clothes in every drawer of the dresser.

    I called the hotel and was referred to house-keeping. When I described what had happened the woman said: "Oh, you mean you forgot to pack. It happens all the time." Then she asked for my address and offered to send me my clothes.

    I'm pretty sure that I'm the writer Kathy referred to at the beginning of her post. I've got another, even more memorable, case of conference forgetfulness posted on my blog.

    Thanks, Kathy.

  5. Oh, yes, that's right. Sorry.

    Yes, I was referring to Paul's blog. Here is the link:

  6. I once left my keys in a hotel in Boston, and realized it when I got to my car at the Detroit airport. My wife had to leave a shower she didn't want to attend to pick me up. Then, by chance, I was back in Boston a couple days later and got my keys.

    Kathy, I gave you an award on my blog. Check it out.

  7. I'll go check it out, Matt. I've been busy getting ready for the National Novel Writing Month contest. Thanks!