A cautionary tale

I am not by nature a sentimental person. I can hear a loud chorus of agreement from family and friends. I am neither attached to places nor things. I appreciate that for a lot of people things carry memories of happy times but not for me. No my happy times are in my memory and can be unlocked in a nano second. No, I’m attached to people, specifically my family and friends. Given how rarely I see the former, and indeed even some of the latter, you may find that strange but I don’t need to see people on a regular basis. I can close my eyes and conjure them up in my mind’s eye.

I was reminded of this recently when I misplaced some possessions. I had hoped that a bit like dogs and their owners, who seem to strangely grow to resemble one another, that the same might happen after years of marriage to my beloved. Now, I don’t want to look like him but I was hoping that some of his finer qualities might rub off. There has been some exchange in the other direction. When I met him my beloved was a shy boy lacking in self-confidence, not something that can be levelled at him now. Sadly, however he’s failed to absorb some of my organisational skills while I seem to have picked up his habit of losing things.

Of course, not everything he’s left behind has fallen into the “lost” category. Where he’s remembered, or more likely, I’ve spotted it’s missing we’ve been able to retrieve all manner of stuff. And so it was with me. After driving most of the way home from the Basque country I woke up in bed at 2:45am and remembered I had left something behind. Now, I know you’re shaking your heads, tutting  and asking why didn’t I check all the drawers and cupboards thoroughly before we left? I did, just not thoroughly enough. I can apportion no blame to my beloved as I was in charge of the re-packing.

The hotel was alerted at 8:00am and found my missing possessions exactly where I had said they would be. Of course, I had an anxious few hours wondering whether they might be safely retrieved. Actually, no. I couldn’t sleep because was annoyed with myself for not following my usual procedures. I also thought long and hard about whether I would be upset if my possessions didn’t come to light and I realised I wouldn’t. These weren’t things of real import in the overall scheme of things, nor things I even need or use on a daily basis.

I’m back down in the Basque country at the end of July but I sensed my host’s desire to be freed from the responsibility of caring for my possessions. My next challenge was to arrange for me and my possessions to be reunited. This is an area where I have significant competence. I frequently have to arrange such matters for my beloved. I looked into how much it would cost for me to go and collect them but I was loathe to waste two days of precious time unless I could fit in a business trip and see a client in Madrid. No, the client wasn’t yet ready to see me.  Friends in Spain who might have provided a temporary home were away on business – all of them.

So I checked out what it would cost to use a courier. Let’s just say it’s easier to organise a delivery rather than a collection! But I persisted with FedEx on the advice of a friend who had worked in the industry. It took a number of emails and telephone calls in a variety of languages but finally I had an account with FedEx and they had my instructions. I notified the hotel and I could feel their waves of relief.

It then went very quiet. I kept checking my account – no activity, nothing. Finally, I sent them an email asking what if anything was happening. No sooner had I let fly on the keyboard when the building guardian rang to say he’d taken collection of a parcel for me. Yes, it was my possessions which had winged their way from the depths of the Basque country in northern Spain to southern France. I hastily sent another email confirming receipt and they sent me back the tracking number!

You can be sure that, unlike my beloved, I have learnt from my mistake. I will NOT be doing that ever again. I have, of course, given my beloved some ammunition but he won’t be using it for two reasons. One, he’ll soon completely forget about it and, even if he doesn’t, two I have a far bigger arsenal with which to fight back.

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