Just What Is Going On?
Could you please answer me? What the fuck is happening? Did I miss the memo? You know, the one saying we, society as whole, are becoming more united, and caring toward our brothers and sisters, regardless of age or status. I see it mentioned constantly in headlines, newscasts and otherwise, but something really, really left me with a funny taste in my mouth on the afternoon of Friday September 25, 2015.
It must have been wallet day, because I found a lost wallet. I found who owned it straightaway, but they were not answering the door, so I went about my business, and bought some cheap-ass headphones from the Future Shop. Checked to see if No Frills had those six dollar bags of chicken, and bought some toothpaste from Wal-Mart.
At the bus stop, an older woman – by older I mean she was obviously retired, was scrimmaging around the grass and garbage bins where I was sitting – waiting for the loser cruiser, and I had to ask, “What’s the problem?” I had a few bucks in my pocket and thought she might be looking for bottles, but no, she was looking for her wallet that she JUST lost. She noticed it missing pretty much immediately, and not five minutes had passed when she back in the store where she was, and now in front of me.
What her answer was really bugged me. She replied, “I lost my wallet, and I was just hoping that somebody had just taken the money out and chucked it. You know, in the grass or the garbage or something. I was just hoping to get the stuff back. But, I guess somebody picked it up and kept it between the til and my car.” She had lost it that fast.
What got me was what she was defaulted to. She was hoping that whoever found it, just kept the money and chucked it. Not, hoping it was handed in at the store, or somebody might have seen her drop it, but took the money, and left her the wallet.
Now, I had a wallet in my possession, and I decided to look through it. There was no money, but, obviously, this guy’s world would have ground to a slow crawl because it fell away from him.
I had to ask myself, ‘What if there was money in it? What would I have done with said money? Would I have kept it? I have found wallets before – with money – and just returned them, but what would I have done with money, if it had been any sizable amount? Say, a quarter of my disability cheque, or maybe a third? It would have altered any short-term plans I have, and it definitely would have changed one long-term goal – that of getting my crap out of the pawnshop.
I got home eventually, made a coffee and called the guy from the number I grabbed off his business card. It was his business card because the name was the same one on all his identification. He was in a panic for a couple hours already, and was very glad I called. When I called, I asked, “Is this Chris?” he had the longest weird name I have ever seen. Phonetically, it sounded out ‘Do-ya-weird’. I wasn’t going to say it. I said, “is this Chris? I got your wallet.” He laughed because I said it really menacingly like I was going to post its video on Al Jazeera. He sighed relief, and we agreed to meet at his place in a half hour.
What I found out was I wouldn’t have kept his money, because he said that it was too bad that there wasn’t any money in it, and I replied that it wouldn’t have mattered – I didn’t even think of my response. I was on Zen-method-of-navigation all day, and his money wouldn’t have changed that. I also found out that he owned a recording studio. Bonus on my part – he lived two blocks away from me. And, icing on my cupcake, he gave me twenty bucks for my time. The whole half of the day was like Homer Simpson when he became a member of the national Rifle Club, and was thinking what it would be like to rob Apu. By the time he was going to do it, he was already in his car eating a sandwich. “Maybe next time.”
I’m still gonna take those cheap-ass headphones back to Future Shop, but the Lady losing her wallet was still bothering my psyche…
People lose stuff every day and she was no different than the rest of them, in most respects except one; I am pretty certain that she has lived through a time when she didn’t default to an assumed baser instinct of ‘finders keepers, losers weepers’, and she would have given someone a reward as well for the safe return of her property.
She would have paid for somebody to do the right thing? Doing the right thing isn't normal, the default anymore? It just bugged the hell outta me.