three times today, within the space of fifteen minutes or less, i saw people drop or forget things as they rushed to point B. guardian angel, or merely observant bystander? i couldn’t figure out which…it just seemed weird that this would happen three times in rapid succession.
the first was a woman at the Wells Fargo ATM. she made her deal with the machine, then walked away, a faint beeping following her into the street. i looked at the machine, and saw her card sticking out of it like a gold tongue. “excuse me, ma’am? i think you forgot your card…” she didn’t even really seem surprised that she had left her friend behind (i actually left my card at an ATM once, so i could relate).
the second was a man walking his dogs. as one ran past, the other lagged at a particularly tantalizing parking meter. he yelled, “come on rusty!”, and the dog dutifully ran along. the owner bent over, unclipped his dog’s leash, dropped a studded dog collar from his pocket, and continued on his way. “excuse me, sir? i think you dropped something…or perhaps it was your dog.” (har)
the third, not ten seconds after, was a woman crossing the street with a stroller. as she inched the nose of the stroller up over the curb, baby squealing with joy, a small box of (raisins?) fell off the back of the tipped baby buggy. “excuse me, ma’am? i think you dropped something.”
i felt like i accomplished a full day’s work in those fifteen minutes. i got some good karma points, too. (well, at least for the ATM card. and maybe the raisins. just think how angry that kid would have been without her raisins.)
as i walked home, i thought of all the things we forget, or drop, or lose. if, as Douglas Adams posited, they all wind up on some planet in outer space reserved for lost things, then there must be a heck of a lot of stuff piled up on that planet.
let’s see…if 50% of the people lose only 1 item per year, and the time-weighted average of population over the last 2000 years is something like 1 billion people, then that means (rusty wheels turning)…500,000,000 people losing 2000 things, which adds up to…a trillion lost things. that’s probably a conservative estimate. really conservative.
trillions upon trillions of lost and forgotten things. carl sagan would be proud.