I have this book. I call it my planner, but really it’s a compilation of everything going on in my life. There are coupons, ideas, phone numbers, speeding tickets, events, birthdays, oil change reminders, bills, recipes, workout schedules… The book contains lists for everything: what to do, where to go, movies to watch, summer activities, things I need to remember, and things I never forget but write down so there’s something to cross off later.
Anyway, this hard-cover spiral bound book is obviously a favorite. It has played a large role in my daily routine since late December 2010.
Then I lost it (the book).
Then I lost it (mentally).
I had bills in there. I couldn’t remember my plans for the upcoming weekend. I knew I had coupons and good stuff and reminders and ….
I freaked. I absolutely went ballistic. I began calling every business I had been to that day, asking whether someone had turned in my life’s guidebook.
“I don’t think so,” the hostess would say.
WELLLL CAN YA CHECK!!!!!!???
I didn’t care that I had already called three times. I wanted to get a hold of someone else who was willing to get down on their hands and knees and search the entire restaurant.
I searched my house up and down. I dug through my garbage can and recycling bins, wondering if I had absent-mindedly slipped it in one of the containers when I brought my garbage out that evening upon returning home. It was too hard and awkward for the dog to rip up and his usual “I did something wrong” exhibit was not in full-force.
So where was it? As with anything lost, I began mentally re-tracing steps. I had it here… I had it when I left….. (fuzz) …. I didn’t have it when I got home.
Unlike a lost camera or iPod, nobody else in this universe would (should) be interested in my lame planner. UNLESS they were the “type” of person who I really (really!) didn’t want to have possession of something so personal. After telling my sob story to every single friend and looking in the trash bins and bushes lining Broadway in downtown Fargo, I gave up. I was ready to move on with my life. The next year would be rough, but I would have to manage. I had no other choice.
Driving to my hometown Friday night, a full 24 hours after misplacing my planner, I got a phone call from my brother. He sounded pissed off, but that’s usually the case.
“Hello?” I said, cringing.
“Hey. Something weird just happened.”
“I was letting the dog out and three foreign dudes walked into the back yard.”
Okay, I’m a typical Midwestern gal. I don’t have much of a “variety” of friends. I was confused.
My brother was too.
“He handed me your planner.”
“SHUT UP! REALLY!?” YOWZA! Make my day!!
Celebrating on the phone and giving high fives to my steering wheel, I was disappointed my brother wasn’t sharing the same amount of excitement. There was none. He was annoyed. Like usual.
“Who was it?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. I could tell he was waiting for an explanation. Why did a few random strangers have my planner?
I didn’t have the answer.
“That planner means a lot to me. I lost it, and that guy found it and he must have tracked me down!” I started explaining. “Did he tell you where he found it?”
“He did, but I don’t remember. I couldn’t understand him.”
“Did you offer him anything? I hope?”
“Yeah, I pulled a $10 bill out of my wallet. He didn’t take it.”
What the hell.
Sure enough, I got home and the planner was surprisingly intact. I couldn’t believe this person had returned the book without stealing my coupons or City of Fargo bill! I searched for a note or some way I could track this person down. I owed him a huge thank you. Maybe a hug, or a very large beer.
About a week later, I got a message from a dude on Facebook. His name was nothing familiar. “Erman” is from Turkey. He was the Good Samaritan who returned my precious book, which was found on a bench about eight miles from my home. It likely wasn’t convenient for Erman to deliver the book.
I don’t know much about Erman, other than where he’s from and that he is able to speak eight different languages – most of which I can’t pronounce. But he gave me hope that there are still good people in the world. Not everyone is looking to steal, cheat, lie or make a dime. Some people just genuinely want to help, and that’s enough.
His act of kindness was a refreshing reminder and absolutely the highlight of my week. And yes, I wrote the event in my planner.
Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.