I would perhaps not admit to losing my nice new bag, if it hadn't been found. But it was, so I will: on Tuesday morning, I set out for a bagel at The Bagel-Deli Company (340 15th Ave E # 201 Seattle, WA 98112). (Chose one of the lunch specials, the Gobbler, with no mayonnaise, of course.) I had brought along a book to read as I ate, and was carrying it in my Tom Bihn Super Ego bag. But somehow, somehow I forgot I had the bag along with me, and left with the book in my hand instead. On the way back to the house, I stopped for some yogurt, bought two of the (quite good, reasonably priced) QFC house brand fruit-on-the-bottom ones, and walked about, now with the book under my arm, a yogurt in each hand. Still hadn't occurred to me that I could have had a bag along, one capable of carrying dozens of yogurts and bunches of books. This is called being absent-minded, if you enjoy euphemisms.
Later that day, some panic set in as I tried to locate my bag to pack it with stuff for the trip east -- the last one planned for a long time. I asked around; no one in the house had seen it lately. I thought back to everywhere I'd been that day (luckily, not many). However, the bagel place closes early -- by the time I had determined that the bag was not in any of the places I kept looking, it was closed.
So, I packed most of the stuff I'd planned for the Super Ego into a smaller (freebie) messenger bag -- Yay, Sourceforge.Net! -- and departed without my Super Ego, and with my computers (MacBook Pro and OLPC XO) packed in my Brain Bag (another Bihn product). Luckily, some of my stuff was destined to stay in a duffel in the basement of the Seattle house anyhow; the smaller size of my new "travel set" meant that more stayed than I'd earlier intended.
To my eternal good fortune, I had already emptied the Bihn bag of nearly everything important to modern human life, in preparation for re-packing it more neatly -- my flight details etc, credit cards, keys, phone, etc, as well as the Brain Cell laptop sleeve. I was determined *not* to check anything on the way back; the way out was an exception, since I was using it as moving-back-to-Seattle trip #1, so I did pack tons of stuff into a duffel bag and checked it. Quite a pain to haul around Portland and then Seattle, but it was a considered risk. (I also like that the duffel was a $2 purchase at a yard sale the *previous* time I'd been in Seattle. Grand circle of life, etc.)
Next day, from back on the ground in Tennesee, I called up the bagel place. They had the bag -- Calloo, callay! (Also, they were polite and friendly on the phone, as they have generally been in real life. Among my many weaknesses, lox on bagels.) They held it for me, and someone from the house (Brian or Christine, I suspect) went to retrieve it for me; it will live in Seattle as my placeholder.
Would this have happened in Philadelphia? Maybe. But I doubt it -- I think that bag would have been long gone, and traded owners a few times, and probably by now pawned. Maybe I would even have gotten a ransom email to get it back. (That's what happened with my ripped-off Visor Deluxe.)
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Related aside: To get to the airport, I took a Metro bus. Total cost: $1.50, which is less than the gas it would have taken to get there by car. I arrived at the bus stop gasping for breath, a full minute after the time I had intended to catch the bus (over five long blocks, with two bags totalling perhaps 35 pounds, overdressed for the last day of July), but luckily for me the bus was about three minutes late, at least if my schedule was accurate in the first place. I talked with a woman who was at the same stop (at first just to ask whether I'd just missed the #12 bus), who 1) kindly made change for a dollar bill, unsolicited, so I didn't have to lose 50 cents and 2) as we rode on the bus, told me her story of coming to live in Seattle -- after life in Argentina, Washington D.C., another U.S. city I've shamefully already forgotten, and Spain. Her son came to live in Seattle, and her daughter visited him; she (the daughter) intended only a brief visit, but loved it and ended up staying a month, then moving to Seattle herself. Therefore, my informant says, considering her life in Spain was fine but not terribly fulfilling, she moved to where her children live, and loves it. We were both moved to gush about how good, friendly and efficient the Seattle Metro system is (and it is). Not perfect, but better than any other I know in the U.S., except for subway service on the isle of the Manhattoes, which is indeed excellent. I've very rarely hit a surly driver, and the buses are normally on time or very close to it.