Stowaways!

“Did you lose your keys?” Anne called on the phone.
“Hallelujah! You have my keys!” I was so relieved.
“I’m so sorry I took them by mistake, thinking they were mine.” It turns out she has a set of keys with a similar keychain medallion that says “If lost, please drop this in the nearest mailbox.” Only hers was from the blood bank, for having donated a gallon of blood (over time). Mine is from my alma mater alumni association, since I coughed up enough money for a lifetime membership (Not nearly as worthy a cause!)
“If they hadn’t been yours, I would have dropped them in the mailbox,” she said. It’s one of those things we’ve always wondered about (does it work?), but I didn’t really want to risk it and besides I wanted my keys back sooner rather than later.

In any case, it had been about 2-1/2 weeks since my keys went missing. It’s not unusual for me to misplace things for a few days. But I was pretty sure I hadn’t lost them in the sense that they were in the hands of a potentially unscrupulous stranger, but that it was somewhere in my house, in one of my myriad of bags? How did they end up with Anne? She had come over to carpool to class.

It made me recollect other incidences of my possessions taking long trips without me, which are pretty funny. All’s well that ends well, right?

About 15 years ago, Pat drove down from Vancouver for a long-weekend visit. On his last day here, we went to dim-sum, after which he dropped me off at my house and then headed on his long trek. For the next couple of days, I couldn’t find my car keys. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find them. Then I got a call from Canada. “Did you leave your keys in my car?” Pat asked. Somehow they must have fallen out when I rode in his car. But since he didn’t usually have people riding in his backseat, he didn’t come across them immediately either. (In a delayed karmic tit-for-tat, last summer I had to mail the key to Pat’s flat back to him when I forgot to return it to him before I left HK!)

So misplacing keys is a commonplace thing. But what about a tent? My cousin Will and I had scheduled our respective weddings on back-to-back weekends one summer, so that relatives flying in could attend both in one trip. Biker and Si had decided they would go to Yellowstone National Park during that gap-week. So Joe and I loaned them our sleeping bags and tent, so they wouldn’t have to lug camping equipment all the way from Japan. We got out sleeping bags back, but then it wasn’t until they got back to Japan that they realised they still had our tent! It had been packed up into their suitcases, as they were going back right after the second wedding. Biker offered to send us money to pay for a new one (and keep ours), but fortunately his brother in LA was going to visit him later that fall, and brought it back for us!

“Gee,” said Joe. “I’ve never been to Japan, but my tent has!”

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