The most horrific thing happened the other day.
I was taking a bundle of mail to the post office at the end of the day, nothing out of the ordinary there. The only difference was that on this day I did not have my backpack with me.
My backpack is usually the dwelling place of a half-dozen notebooks that I keep around for writing ideas and bits of writing in. I’ve had most of them for more than a year and they’re starting to fill up.
On this particular day I had only taken one notebook with me to work and I had dutifully carried it back out to the car with me when I left the office. I dropped off the mail, went home and began my evening.
I’m sure you’ve already guessed where my notebook ended up.
At about 8pm I frantically call my wife, who is watching a movie at her sister’s house, and beg her to look through the car for my notebook that is nowhere to be found. She doesn’t find it.
At this point I’m positive that I had accidentally mailed it. The Post Office branch is closed and I’ll have to wait until morning to call.
This is a terrible thing for a writer, at least one like me who relies on a notebook to try and make sense of the constantly changing landscape in my head. The most awful feeling comes from the idea that some of my thoughts are forever lost. The lost potential is the tragedy. Ideas that will never have a chance to grow beyond an inkling.
I’m sure this all sounds terribly dramatic, but it’s the closest I can come to describing what it’s like and why this was such a bad experience.
In the morning, the blasted branch doesn’t answer the phone. And I call. A lot.
By 9:30am I’ve packed the toddler in my car and headed over to the branch in person, hoping against hope that some sensible postal worker saw a loose notebook. When I reach the branch and get to the counter I tell the worker what happened.
“Oh that mail is long gone. On a truck yesterday,” he tells me.
I grit my teeth and decide to push my luck. “Are you sure nobody would have pulled it out. It’s just a loose black notebook with a pink sticky note on the side.”
“I’ll look,” he tells me. He could at least have the decency to act like this is the most exciting thing that’s happening in the Post Office at 10:00am on a Saturday. I watch him sort of half-heartedly shuffle around before he ends up in front of a large shelf with a sizable pile of random looking postal bits.
Then, like a spectacular magician he pulls my notebook from the pile.
“Is this it?”
“Yes!” I fairly screech.
A sleepless night of fervent prayer has paid off and I am once again leading the charmed life I’ve known so far, being better looked after than I deserve. I do, however, need to make some backups of my notebooks.
So there we have it. Experience experienced, lesson hopefully learned. Action planned.