Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Who am I?


Last weekend was supposed to be a relaxing one – taking the train up to Devon to see my mum for the first time in six months. So my dear brother in law, Pete, dropped me off at the station on Friday afternoon and offered to see me off. “Don't worry, Pete,” I said, giving him a hug. “We'll be fine.” And Molls and I set off to check the train and get a ticket.

It wasn't until I was standing in the queue for tickets that I thought – where's my bag? My stomach plummeted and I checked – got Molls, got my holdall and my wellies – but no bag.

I shot out of the ticket hall, ran outside, heart thumping, to see if Pete had gone. The February drizzle dowsed the afternoon but there was no sign of Pete's grey Fiesta. I walked back with a sense of utter disbelief. I stood there shaking, and realised I had no money, no phone and no keys. Nothing. No form of identification (though this didn't hit me until later). It was too far to walk home (12 miles) and I had no wherewithal to get a train or bus back.

But I have great faith in Pete, was convinced he'd see my bag lying on the back seat of his car. He'd swear, under his breath, and turn round and bring it straight back. So I thought. I knew I'd be OK – I just wasn't sure how.

As it happened, Pete didn't notice my bag until 8pm that night – this was 2.30pm. But after various phone calls from borrowed mobiles, a dear friend roared down to the station, paid for my ticket and gave me some cash for a cup of tea, and Molls and I got the 3.30 train. Dear Nancy also rang my mum to tell her what had happened and that I'd be on a different train, and left a message on Pete's answerphone.

Once on the train, I relaxed – though I could hear Pip saying, “have a brandy Pop.” If there had been any form of refreshment, I would have grabbed it, but typically there was nothing – not even one of those little trolleys. However, someone had left a half empty can of fizzy orange so I downed that.

In the middle of that night I awoke feeling very unsettled. The next day the feeling of dislocation continued and I realised that losing your identity is a very scary thing. I was no-one and nothing.

Although I don't use my mobile much, it has a lot of numbers that I can ring if I need to. Without it, I had no recourse to many of my friends. My diary is full of reminders and work dates. Without that I'd be lost. My keys were in my bag too – so I couldn't even get into the flat even if I did get home. I had a bottle of water for me and Molls, biscuits for my low blood sugar (which was also plummeting) – also in my bag. I have my trusty notebook and pen for when I think of things that I have to remember – which is about every five minutes. Lastly, I have an envelope where Pip wrote, “I love you,” which is my talisman.

One thing's for sure – I will never, ever, leave my bag in the back of someone's car again.

But I was fortunate that I hadn't actually lost the bag, and that I had friends and my mum to lend me money. I was struck by the kindness of many people – one lady in particular who let me use her phone for countless calls. I will not forget her, and if ever there's a time when I can repay her kindness, I will do so.

23 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Oh my goodness, I can imagine that was a scary experience. Your post made me think about all the poor victims of earthquakes who find they have nothing left. Their identity is all they can relate to.

I'm so glad you found the bag. You can relax now.

Take care, CJ xx

Aoj and The Hounds said...

FP, I have been out of the blogging loop for so long that I had not heard your sad news about Pip. I hope I'm not going to distress you but I did just want to say how very sorry I am. Aojxx

Akelamalu said...

It's wonderful isn't it the kindness of folk when one is in a jam? I'm a firm believer in 'pay it forward' and I'm sure you will help someone in the future that may be in a predicament. It does teach you a lesson though when something like that happens doesn't it? :)

Debs Carr said...

What a horrible thing to have happened. We have so many sentimental/useful things in our bags. I'm glad it all turned out in the end.x

liz fenwick said...

What an awful feeling. I've been there and that heart sink moment when you have lost control...

Thank goodness for lovely people.

lx

Flowerpot said...

AOJ it's lovely to hear frm you again. Thanks for your kind thoughts and hope you are back in teh loop again!

Flowerpot said...

CJ - it was scary but it actually made me think of how I was 20 years ago. I'm not that person now thankfully but that was very scary....!

Flowerpot said...

Ak - Pip wa\s a great believer in paying it forward and I do think it works. It makes me feel better anyway!

Flowerpot said...

Liz - yes thank god there are some kind people - it makes all the difference!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I think I got the underlying message from your post about the vulnerability of not having Pip around. The 'loss' of everything you needed to make you feel in control was temporarily snatched away from you where in other cases the loss is more permanent. The kindness of strangers at times like this really does make us realise that we are never on our own and that if we reach out someone will help. It might have been a small act to give you her phone but it meant a great deal to you.

I had my bag stolen at a conference many years ago. It haunted me for years as I continued to have dreams about some toerag using my credit cards to run up millions in debt! But at the time, my female colleagues rallied round to give me a hairbrush, make up and some dosh to get through the evening - we were staying at a hotel so at least I could get bladdered to make my mind off it!

Thank heavens your bag was safe - that letter from Pip would have been your most priceless posession to lose. X

Flowerpot said...

Debs - so am I!

Flowerpot said...

MOB - very perceptive of you. Yes I had a chronic weekend of missing Pip so much I could hardly breathe. I can well imagine how you felt having your bag stolen - that must have been terrible. And yes it would have been awful if that envelope of Pip's had been stolen - but I do have other missives at home thankfully!

Colette McCormick said...

Nightmare! Its only when you don't have access to it that you realise just how much of your lif ethat you carry around with you everyday. Glad it all turned out okay.

Chris Stovell said...

Berlimey you're being tested - and coming through every time. Big cyber hugs for getting through another ordeal.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I've been in similar situations where I've had to rely on the kindness of strangers and have so appreciated that they were there at the moments when I needed it most--Like you, I would and try to recognize the chance to pay it forward!

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I've been in similar situations where I've had to rely on the kindness of strangers and have so appreciated that they were there at the moments when I needed it most--Like you, I would and try to recognize the chance to pay it forward!

Flowerpot said...

Chris - I didn't post the rest of what happened over the weekend. It was quite something - it went downhill after losing my bag!! Thanks so much for support x

Pat Posner said...

HUGS for the scary time and more HUGS for getting through it.

xxPat

Flowerpot said...

Colette - I usually carry my phone and keys in my coat pocket when I'm out with Molls but had transferred everything. Shant do that again!

Flowerpot said...

Kim - good to meet you. I have to say there were several people at the station that weren't as good natured, but then you always get those!

Flowerpot said...

Pat - both hugs much appreciated!

Manchester Lass, Now and Then said...

What an awful experience FP♥ My bag is my security blanket:( I'm so pleased you bag wasn't lost or stolen but still what an awful thing to happen. How lovely that there are still kind folk out there willing to help:) xxxx

Flowerpot said...

Manchester Lass - it's amazing how vulnerable we can feel without our bags. It's not just that though - I found it made me very wobbly for the entire weekend. Won't let it out of my sight now!