Friday, March 24, 2006

Finally... something that might actually inspire me to write a good short story. Some day.

Last night, Gina and I went to dinner with Patrick and his parents, who are visiting from Ohio. Patrick and Gina and I all went to Hubbard High School together. Patrick's father was Gina's confirmation teacher at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Hubbard. Patrick's mother was a high school English teacher at Hubbard High for about 35 years, during which she had all three of us as students at one point or another. Incidentally, my mother was also a student of hers 32 years ago. Anyway, we were excited to have five Hubbard folks, chatting about the tiny town we call home.

Along with our dinner plans, we were committed to housesitting for Gina's friend Courtney who has two small dogs, one of which is a five month old puppy. Gina met Courtney, a cool spunky photography student at UCLA, while Gina was living with me in my old apartment... Courtney lives in the same building.

Before leaving for dinner, I double checked (as I often do) that I had everything I needed. One item on the checklist was and always is my wallet. I looked in my bag... I did not have it. Knowing full well I did not take it out of my bag after work, I figured I had left it at work, which meant a trip back to the valley to look for it before the night was out. This did not make me happy.

We left with only Gina's wallet, and I began thinking quickly. I called the office... luckily, someone was still working, and he was nice enough to go upstairs and check my desk for my wallet.

"It's not here."

I hated hearing those words.

We ate dinner, I tried to put it out of my mind. After dinner, we went back to our apartment, and I checked the whole apartment for the wallet. Nothing. I checked my car. Nothing. I checked my bag for the fifth time. Nothing. I drove to work at 9:30pm last night. Looked all around my desk. In every drawer. Nothing.

I had only two glimmers of hope: someone found it and turned it into the front desk. This was unlikely because our company is smallish and everyone pretty much knows everyone else, and if someone HAD found it, they would have put it in my desk. My other thought was that I may have left it at It's Coffee Time, even though I knew 100 percent that I did NOT take it there that morning. I was just trying to set my mind at ease, all the while unable to STOP mentally listing all of the things that were in the wallet: driver's license, insurance card, Costco card, credit cards, social security card, $30.00...

On my way home from work at 10:00pm, I called my old roommate to see if I could share her parking space, and to let her know I was going to be in the building for a week, puppy sitting. (Her parking space was full, so to add on to my crappy night, I had to find parking. In Hollywood. Boo.)

I parked the car and was extremely frustrated. I got to Courtney's and moped while Gina watched TV. Admittedly, the puppies cheered me up (I'll post pics next week). Gina also cheered me up, just by reminding me that the problem was fixable. Annoying, but fixable. I went to bed at 11pm, mainly so that I could stop thinking about it.

At 12:30am, my cell phone rang. I refused to get out of bed to get it, but Gina pointed out it might be an emergency. I went to get it and listened to the new voice mail. It was my roommate. She sounded really... weird.

"Hi... Katie... Um... Can you call me back?... I have something of yours. I have... your wallet." Then, to someone else, she said, "Yeah, uh huh, okay... thanks." Back to me. "Call me in the morning and you can come get it."

I called her right back. She had called me because she wanted to be on the phone with someone when she answered the door. Turns out, a guy came to her door smelling of alcohol, looking for "Kathy." Once she heard voices of neighbors in the hallway, she felt comfortable opening the door. He handed my wallet to her, telling her he found it, and he took some money out of it, and he apologized. He gave my roommate his address, saying that I should write to him if I wanted the money back, that he felt really bad that he took it and spent it, and he wished he could apologize to me in person.

My immediate thought was, how did this guy get this wallet from my OFFICE and why the hell did he bring it to Hollywood from the valley at 12:30am? Then I saw that his address was an address a few blocks away from where Gina and I live, and I realized it must've fallen out of my bag when I got out of the car after work yesterday.

Obviously, I'm not going to write to this guy asking for my money back, which I'm estimating was about $25, maybe $30 (he left three dollar bills in the wallet). He needs the money more than I do. It was just a weird set of Lynchian circumstances, and I still can't believe that the guy made it all the way across Hollywood to return a wallet.

I'm grateful, and humbled.

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