Sunday, July 13, 2008

A momentary lapse of luggage

I would like to think that the willingness to publicly admit having done something Really Fucking Dumb shows a certain degree of character. Perhaps it even marks a refreshing acknowledgement of one's limitations and fellowship with the other sometimes confused mammals we know as Homo sapiens.

On the other hand, it might just be a kind of psychological masochism.

In any case, there I was yesterday, having returned to London from a very fine time at a crime history conference held at my university and making my way to the place where The Wife and I will be staying for a couple of weeks in scenic south London. And what do I do? In a not entirely explainable momentary lapse of reason upon disembarking, I left my suitcase on the train.

Although I realised my mistake within seconds, the doors had closed and the train was already in motion by the time I made it back through the gates.

Yes, this is very stupid.

But it is even more stupid than you think: this is the second time I have done this in the last few years.

Indeed. I am a singularly silly boy.

To make a long and wearisome story short, all is well that ends well. Thanks to the extraordinarily kind, competent and sympathetic assistance of three employees of Southern railways, I had my suitcase back within a couple of hours.

I had the opportunity to thank all of them personally (and wrote a letter to the company commending their work).

However, my gratitude is also due to the unknown fellow passenger who saw me leave the train without my suitcase and who handed it in a few stations down the line, allowing my agony of frustration and self-loathing -- while intense and certainly justified -- to be brief.

Thank you. Whoever you are.

The next couple weeks in this exhausting city will most likely dim the temporary glow of fellow-feeling that that experience gave me.

But still: it has been nice while it's lasted.


The Feeder said...

Schwein gehabt, woll?

Nele ;)

J. Carter Wood said...

Und wie...

Canada said...

JCW: If you only knew my own exploits in forgetting, leaving and losing, you would soon take heart regarding your recent and earlier misadventures.

If I were the self-flaggelating type, I'd be striped.

Regards to The Wife. Hope you both have a lovely sojourn in Her Majesty's realm.

J. Carter Wood said...

Thanks C., I feel better. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.

I'm sure we'll have a nice time, with many hours spent in the British Library.

For us that is a good time.

We are a bit odd, I know.

canada said...

Um....I'm a former librarian and my partner is University Librarian at a major university here (it's why we're in Canada). You and The Wife got nothing on me when it comes to a Good Time, Mister.

Enjoy yourselves responsibly.

J. Carter Wood said...

We will enjoy the books thoroughly.

But only in moderation.

Kris McCracken said...

Well done to the other passenger, and I think that this stuff is mandatory for academics anyway.

lily said...

Every cloud has a silver lining.
And this moment proved you a lot.
There acutally are nice, thoughtful people in this world even in restless London.
Enjoy your time there.
I love this city!
Even here in New Zealand I am a bit jealous.
Had a couple of accidents here as well, for example I washed my mobile or we ran out of electricity because I didn't know about the prepaid electricity system.

Kia Ora!

Anonymous said...

If I'd known you were going to leave that suitcase on a train, I'd have broken the lock of the car it was in, to keep you from it.

Hang on, I _did_ break the lock of the car it was in. Perhaps Saturday was one of those days. It might have something to do with Friday night.


J. Carter Wood said...

Thanks, Chris, for giving me a way out: it's not me, it was was a general case of bad Saturday vibes. One broken lock; one lost suitcase.

This doesn't entirely work, though, since I actually felt rather good on Saturday.

Though Friday had been a bit late. And boozy. So, maybe you're right.

If nothing else, it's another excuse. And a better one than early-onset senility.

Thanks, Lily, for the nice message. And it's good to know that your mobile is squeaky clean. :-)

As to the lights going out: I have fond memories of visits to my British aunt and uncle in the 70s and 80s, when -- in order to keep the electricity flowing -- you had to put coins at semi-regular intervals in the in-house meter. I think it was generally 50p pieces, but that might be wrong.

In any case, my aunt would more often than not (it seemed) forget to feed the meter. And suddenly we'd all be sitting there in the dark.

Ah...maybe that is where I get my perpetual absent mindedness from...

Dave Andress said...

A marvel, John, in these dark days [and I don't just mean the lovely British weather] that it was not blown up... ;-)