There’s a lot of snow on the roads here. Quite dangerous. Seen a few cars slide off the road and get stuck in ditches, cars without enough traction suddenly starting to go backwards down a hill, I even saw one spin out. The bus was running fine, though. And super jolly it was, too. The driver was dressed up as Father Christmas, she had a portable CD player playing some Christmas songs, there were decorations and fairy lights all along the hand rails, and a big box of cookies for the passengers.
I tried to imagine this sort of thing on a London bus, but then my brain started to haemorrhage, so I gave up trying to force it to do something it quite clearly couldn’t cope with.
I had a nice little saunter around Bellingham, but the museums were closed, so I cut my losses and decided I’d get a bagel and head home. (The bagel shop, called the Bagelry, is great. Really nice onion bagels.) Bus ride back, went to the shop to buy some cigs, and just before I walked home, I decided to go and take a couple of photos of trees across the street on the golf course.
Snap, snap, snap, then I heard someone talking to me, I took my headphones off, and a guy said something about it not being good weather for golf. It was the guy who’d been behind me in the queue at the shop. He asked me if I lived here or was just visiting. He had an English accent, too. From Birmingham. So we had a nice little chat about the States. He loves it here. Works at some company that makes parts for aeroplanes. As we talked, I put my hand in my trouser pocket. No wallet. Checked my other trouser pockets. Nope. Coat pockets. Nope. Unzippped my rucksack, checked the three sections. No wallet. Fuck. All the time, I was nodding, smiling, carrying on with the conversation. I don’t know why it went down like it did, but even after I’d realised that, yes, I have lost my wallet, I stood there and chatted with him for a good three or four minutes. Then I apologised, told him the situation, and re-traced my steps.
Scanning all the foot prints in the snow for a black wallet-sized thing, checking any disruption to the purity of the blanket of snow, just in case it had fallen beyond the foot printy area. Nothing. Across the road, kicking up the brown snow to see if it was there. Nothing. The same in the car park. Back into the shop, they were incredibly nice. There was the middle-aged woman behind the counter who remembered how I like my cappuccino (drier rather than wetter), and calls everyone “hun.” They’d not seen it, I hadn’t left it on the counter. We checked the boxes of chocolate bars in front of the counter, and it wasn’t there either. I left them a contact number, had another check over on the golf course, then trudged home annoyed with myself. I’ll have to phone my German bank, my English bank, the credit card people, get a new driving licence, all that crap. Shit, shit, shit.
I got home, and it was nice to see Rosco, all happy to see someone back in the house. (Incidentally, I’ve no idea if that is the spelling of Rosco that Lisa and Cameron are going for. It’s more likely to be Roscoe, I suppose, but the only instances of seeing the name in print I have in my head are pop culture doofus references: Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and rapper Rosco P. Coldchain.) I sat down, covered in snow, being licked by a happy dog. The phone rang, I checked the display at it said the store’s name. The English guy had found my wallet. If I could do an end-of-level Super Mario spinny-jump-and-peace-sign celebration, I would have done one.
I did wonder where he’d found my wallet, though. After we parted company he went off in the opposite direction, so unless he was an exceedingly good citizen and had come back to have another look for my wallet, he must’ve accidentally picked it up off the counter with his groceries after I’d left the store. So, Rosco and I went back to the store. Rosco did his business.
Then decided to have a little swim.
And when I picked up my wallet, the guy had left his name and number. I’ll give him a call later to thank him. I’m not happy with myself, though, for letting my cynical side come out and wonder why someone would leave their number unless they specifically wanted to be thanked for their good deed. Cold and wet, Rosco and I came home. Somewhere along the way, I lost the fresh packet of cigarettes out of my pocket. After what I very nearly lost, though, it’d be churlish to be annoyed about it. (I am a bit annoyed about it, though.)