Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Art of one

Work sometimes dictates that I order my lunch and head back to my desk. Often, this involves finding a spare moment to duck out and find the closest and most likely fastest form of food that money (on a budget) can buy. There is no time to call others or to socialise. Just out the door, down the stairs by oneself.

These moments are quite precious as it breaks up the day and is the one truly accepted time to head out and get some fresh air. Furthermore, I find it is a good distraction from the day to day activities even if only for a minute or two amidst a busy schedule. It is almost sacred "me" time.

Although I can blame the fact that I am busy, if alone, I would rarely sit in a food court and eat unaccompanied. At least with 2+ individuals, upon completion of their meals, a conversation would ensue. There would be no urgency to move. However, a single person, having finished their meal would tend to get up and leave the table. It would be different if one had some reading material. A conversation at a table for one would sport looks of lunacy. Heck, they would have even less looks if they were merely sitting at the table and having a smoke.

Why is it so weird for someone to just sit at a table and do nothing?

It would be ok if they were reading or writing, listening to music, sunbathe or even sleep. But to just sit there and do nothing is a "no-no". I mean we can shop on our own, watch a movie on our own, but we can't be doing nothing. Even if in thought, gazing at nothing in particular and not moving, is seen as strange. Is there such a deep aversion to being alone; what is wrong with being lonely? Last time I checked, it wasn't THAT contagious....and as Chicago sang, 'Everybody needs a little time away...' Maybe it is because that time alone should be private and spent in the absence of prying eyes and ears and that we are out to be seen and heard. I reckon that there should be no embarassment by someone or indeed judgement passed on someone merely sitting there, minding their own business and doing nothing...even if it means hogging the seat in a packed foodcourt!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Dude, where's my wallet?

I decided to play indoor soccer out at Olympic Park in Homebush. This was the first time we were playing at the venue and I couldn't find a parking spot, having circled around a good few times. I finally found a spot, and walked over to the ticket machine to pay the extortive parking fee and found a ticket in the machine. I grabbed the ticket and headed across the road, and it started to rain - just my luck eh?

After a tiring session of running (and being absolutely dominated by the other team), it was time to settle the bill. I rumaged through my bag, and couldn't find my wallet. Hmm, my keys and mobiles were there - where was my wallet? I swear I took it out to pay for my ticket....but hang on, I didn't need to since there was a spare one there. Thankfully one of my friends settled my portion of the bill, and I promised to pay him tomorrow.

Worried, I rushed back to the car, and decided to do a search of the ground around the car as well as the inside the car. Being parked in an underlit area made it difficult to see and with no torch handy it was proving to be a very difficult task. Frustrated, I thought hey maybe it's at my girlfriend's place since we had dinner at her place. I rang but no answer....damn. Tried again.....damn. Third time lucky. I could sense I was short, but panicky.
"Did I leave it on the table?"
"Is it on the coffee table?" I asked hopefully.
"Nope, I can't see it. Is it in your bag?"
"I obviously checked my bag," I said, half annoyed (ok, maybe very annoyed).
I continued to drive and was feeling around in my bag, perhaps too enthusiastically as I almost ran into the side of the curb.
Got to my her place, and lugged my bag up to and frantically pulled out all my belongings. Nothing.

I started to calm a bit, and thought, maybe I needed to attack this logically. Think - where did I see it last?
Starting at the beginning of the day:
I got driven in to work that day, so I didn't need to get my ticket from my wallet.
I had a work lunch today, so didn't need my wallet for lunch money either.
Got spoilt as I had a lift back home too, so I didn't need my wallet to get home.
Had dinner at my girlfriend's place, so no need for it then either.
Here is a good example of why we should spend money every day - at least one would know they had used their wallet!
Maybe I left it at home???

I decided to drive home and was thinking about what I had in my wallet. Unfortunately, I don't really do audits on what I have in my wallet, so it was a bit of a struggle - but I did know I had withdrawn some cash the day before. I got home and ran to my room and searched my work bag and any other bag it may have been in. Nope. With my usual bad habits of leaving my stuff around, I searched my usual spots, but to no avail.

At that point, I decided I should cancel my cards, so called up the financial institutions. After verifying my identity, AMEX had informed me that I had no new charges on the card. That was a relief, but I could not put a hold on the card. I had to cancel the card. I declined and called up ANZ. Interestingly, they didn't even allow me to check if there were any new charges on the card before cancelling. It was cancel, and then they can check or don't cancel and the can't check. Not sure what that was all about, so I cancelled first and asked questions later. No charges for the entire day. This got me thinking - maybe it isn't stolen (since I presumed that most thieves would be opportunistic and use the credit cards). Maybe I left it at work?

Since I then remembered that my drivers license was also in my wallet, my mum and I drove into the city to my office to see if I left it on my desk. I raced into my office, and searched everywhere. Still not here! I was both annoyed and disappointed. By now it was way past midnight, and I still hadn't found my wallet. I was tired. Why does this sort of thing happen to me? (Yes I was feeling sorry for myself). Where could it possibly be?

In a last ditch effort, I decided that maybe it dropped out as I got out of the car in Homebush. We set off for another long drive out to Homebush. During that leg, I was thinking to myself that my old wallet was a forgone conclusion, and resigned to the fact that it was gone. It had served me well over the years. I was beginning to think of what kind of wallet I would like next. Maybe a brown wallet this time, like a long card holder style....

Finally, we made it out to Homebush and in a last ditch effort, we started searching - with torches this time. I didn't see anything and then walked to the ticket machine. Nothing was around it. The sports centre was long closed, but I thought I would try and walk in that direction. I drew an imaginery line between the ticket machine and the entrance to the indoor centre and proceeded to walk. This time it wasn't raining as I walked across the road which was divided by some trees and grass on the median strip. As I approached the grassy area, between two trees, I noticed a small black object resting on the grass. My heart skipped a beat as I ran towards it. There it was. My wallet. Sitting on the grass in the median strip. It was slightly damp from the rain, but I checked and everything was in there. Even the cash was still there. It must have fallen out of my unzipped bag as I ran across the road to avoid the rain.

I walked back to the car, where my mum was still searching and told her to abandon her search and that I had found it. She was very pleased that I had found it, and told me that she was praying that I would find it.

Initally, I was thinking I was lucky to find my wallet (but heck I was unlucky to lose it in the first place). But thinking about it, was I really that lucky? Was I lucky that it fell on a patch of grass and not the paavement or road? Lucky that nobody picked it up or saw it. Lucky that I had decided to come back to Homebush that same night. Was it luck that it was raining so most people wouldn't be out? What were the chances? I am not the religious type but I am not sure I can put it all down to luck and was extremely thankful that I had found it. So I have put it down to being fortunate (and careless) and maybe someone was looking out for me.

I don't usually check what I have in my wallet, but it's a good idea if this ever happens again. From now on, I will check once in a while. That and making sure I zip up my bag.