October 14, 2008

Unattended Belongings

I was eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria the other day when a woman sitting in the booth next to me leaned over.

"Excuse me," she said. "Are you going to be sitting here for a few minutes?"
Before I could answer in the affirmative, the woman said, "Would you mind watching my stuff for me?"
The assignment seemed to be relatively low risk, so I nodded my head.

I waited for the woman to exit the cafeteria before peering over the booth to see what I was babysitting. Included among the objects scattered across the table was a laptop, a BlackBerry, and a large red purse.

The sight of what I conservatively estimated to be $3,000 worth of electronics made me feel very relieved that I was not the stupid person who had asked a complete stranger to protect my valuables from other strangers. I was just the stupid stranger who agreed to do it.

I spent the next five minutes feeling resentful over my loss of freedom. I spent the five minutes after that trying to figure out ways to displace some of my stupidity onto others.

I thought first about asking another stranger to watch the woman's stuff. Then I thought about hiding the woman's stuff (to teach her a lesson). Eventually I combined the two ideas and came up with my best idea yet: asking a stranger to hide the woman's stuff. I was mentally interviewing two prospective job candidates--a man with two screws protruding from his left temple and a woman who was stabbing hundreds of small holes into the top of a piece of apple pie with a plastic fork--when the owner of the electronics store returned, carrying a chopped salad and a Diet Pepsi.

"Thanks!" she chirped, and sat down.

I gave the man with the screws in his head a sympathetic look, not because he had screws in his head, but because my hesitation cost him the opportunity to play hide-and-seek.


Lisa Loo said...

You are so funny! The biggest thing I am getting from you blog right now is to keep your sense of humor. (mine, not yours)My daughter is going in for surgery on Friday and everytime I get anxious--I come over to your blog and remember to breathe. I know you are not writing for me--but thanx all the same---

Leah said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who has thought something like that when asked to watch some random thing for some random person.

Liz said...

I have to tell that I just love your attitude! You have to know what you provide for others, at least I hope you do! To be able to remain so fun, positive... and completely hysterical all while having to experience difficult times. You are my hero! I don't know how you do it... but you are a GREAT person!

Rachel said...

I guess people assume that anyone eating in a hospital cafeteria must be an honest and trustworthy person, someone you can gladly leave your valuables and/or children with, right?
Your sense of humor about these things is undoubtedly helping you get through this ordeal with Cameron. Hoping he's improving every day!

Dolly said...

Dear Mean Mom-

I too, feel that if I can keep smiling I'll continue to have some sanity in this crazy world. I'm entrusted with six kids...and I feel like walking away some days too. Today, I'm letting a Higher Power take over on my 18 yr. old. Only He knows how to give us both a sense of humor! Good luck with yours :)

daria said...

So who is watching your other three children whilst you are being the watchdog of the hospital cafeteria?
You must have an honest looking face. Now that you know, you could probably make a nice darprofit taking advantage of that fact.

togetherforgood said...

You know, I had to spend some time in a hospital cafeteria just last week and no one asked me to watch/steal their electronic devices. Maybe you just look more trustworthy than I do.

Bekka & Jessica said...

It's probably good you didn't ask the nice man with the screws in his head to watch her stuff. With all those electrical devices, you might have done some real damage to his brain.

Jodee Leader said...

That is a hilarious story! I am so glad you are keeping a good sense of humor throughout this hospital stay.

I hope Cameron is doing well today.

Julia said...

TOO FUNNY! It reminds me of my mother-in-law's last trip to our house. She had taken a shuttle from Idaho Falls to the Salt Lake Airport. It stops at every wide spot in the road. At one of these stops she asked the woman sitting next to her if she would watch her purse while she took a potty break. The woman said yes. When my MIL got here she told us the story and said, "and I'm now missing $200 in cash. How could I be so dumb?" We took her to a bank to get some cash and she spent the next week telling everyone about it. The first time she got into her car upon her arrival home, she went to put on her seat belt and WAA LAA ... There was the bank envelope with... $200 cash!!! :)