My husband affectionately calls me the “Bag Lady” because I’m like Mary Freaking Poppins.
I carry pretty much everything any single person could need–shoes, clothes, make-up, bills, books, computers–everything.
Call me a crazy New Yorker, but I lived through 9-11 and the Great Blackout. There’s no way I’m getting stuck in Manhattan without options.
It was late on a Friday night. I was tired and distracted. Another long week in the salt mines sent me to the comfort of my smart phone.
I was busy having an inane conversation with a friend via text and I suppose it was engrossing.
So engrossing, in fact, I nearly missed my stop. (Who misses their stop because they are screwing around on their smart phone? Seriously?)
The doors dinged, I looked up, grabbed the bag I’d plopped down beside me and raced out, barely squeezing through before they closed behind me.
Half way across the parking lot, still deeply connected to my smartphone and ignorning everything in the frigid parking lot around me, I had this creeping sensation that something was missing.
I meandered to the car (because first of all, I’m incapable of walking in a straight line with or without a smartphone, and second of all, I was avoiding the massive snow-piles-cum-glaciers macerating all over the parking lot) , fumbled with the keys, threw my bag into the passenger seat and got in.
I sat there for a minute, looking at my bag.
Wondering why something felt “off.”
I left the office with 2 bags.
Now I’m down to one.
I left the bag on the train.
Every shred of personal information I had, was all over it….receipts, bills, coupons, some of my work–all with tons of personal information EVERYWHERE.
I’d lost stuff on the train before. I even put in a Lost and Found Request . None of it ever came back to me.
It was lost forever in the black hole of MTA Lost and Founded-ness.
I could stand to lose umbrellas and gloves, but this was FAR worse. What was I going to do?
I called my husband, who thought something really terrible had happened (Was I hurt? Where was I? Did he need to come pick me up?).
Finally after 5 minutes of blathering like an idiot, he figured out what I was trying to tell him. Calmly he told me to relax and that he would call the railroad.
“But how can you be the bag lady without any bags?” he asked, trying to lighten the moment.
In spite of myself I laughed.
I couldn’t believe I was such a moron.
Bag. Train. Lost. Forever.
Or…so I thought.
Sunday night rolls around and I get a call from a number I don’t recognize. Being the antisocial wierdo that I am, I let it go to voicemail. Five minutes later I pick the message up.
“Hi, umm, my name is Joe, and I found a bag on the train. I think it’s yours.”
My heart skipped a beat. I dialed Joe’s number and waited while it rang.
“Hello?” a friendly voice said.
“Hi, Um. You called me. You said that you found my bag on the train?”
“Yeah, are you TheCrankyCommuter?”
“Um. Yeah, thats me.”
“Well listen, I found your bag in the office when I came in for my shift. I figured since I found your number on the stuff inside, I’d give you a ring. I can send the bag back to Penn on the next train and it will probably take a week for you to get it back, or if you are close by, you can meet me at the train station and I can give it to you here.”
I thought for a minute.
1. It was late.
2. I was by myself.
3. Its dark at the train station when it’s late. And even worse when I’m by myself.
Two minutes later I hear myself saying–
“Sure, when should I meet you, and where?”
I figure I’m safer in a pair, so I call a friend. When 8:30 rolls around and he comes to pick me up, I’m nervous and antsy.
What if this is some ploy? What if I get murdered or kidnapped? What if we both get murdered? Will anyone notice?
Despite my endgaming, my friend assures me I’m mostly insane and drives us off to the train station (but only after getting us lost). We find a place to camp and wait.
A few minutes later, an LIRR truck cruises by, a guy in the driver’s seat peers around at all the other cars waiting to pick up passengers headed back to school after February break.
“That’s Joe!” I exclaim and dash from the car to flag him down, flailing my arms like an idiot.
He climbs out. He’s all LIRR’d out. LIRR jacket, hat and an orange vest. The real deal.
“Yes, Oh god, I am so glad you found my bag. Seriously. I can’t thank you enough. Really. My whole life is in there. ” I gush as he hands over my ratty canvas bag. (Seriously, who would ever want it anyway?)
“Hey. No big deal. I figured you’d want it back.” (he kind of winks at this. I suspect he probably spied the random receipts, bills and the short stories I was working on.)
I smile sheepishly. . I guess if I’m gonna write, I better get used to people nosing around in my stuff.
“Thank you so so so very much, Joe. Really. Seriously.” I gush.
The next thing I know, I’m hugging Joe and continuing to thank him profusely.
He turned red and made an excuse about heading back to work, climbed back into his truck and waved goodbye.
And….despite my fears of murder and evil plots….I had my bags.
Mary Poppins and her spoon full of sugar be damned.