Confession: I'm a Mess & People Are Good
I've missed this place. I haven't posted in too long, which I don't love, but I'm trying to forgive myself. I have been touring for The Ramblers and life has been a bit crazy, good crazy, and the blog has taken a hit. But here I am.
I have so much to tell you, guys. The past couple weeks have been a beautiful blur and there are so many highlights of my rambles that I'm dying to share... and I will. But today: just a story. A story that is pretty incredible if you ask me.
By way of necessary background: I've been awake since 1:30am. This is not to complain, but to provide context. My littlest chickadee has a bad cold and woke us up with a fever and a terrible cough. None of us slept much after that, but per our pediatrician who'm we just saw, she's fine. (Evidence A: She's now by my side asking Siri to show her pictures of kittens.) So, anyway, I was poised to be tired today, but my alarm was set for 5am because I had my monthly appointment with my therapist.
In the pre-dawn darkness, I made it to the East Side for my session and, fittingly, the topic was always going to be how absolutely, epically drained I am - grateful, but absolutely shredded. I talked her through my last few weeks and she smiled and told me I have every right to be wiped out. Our chat was a bit all over the place, as some of our best chats are. I explained to her the ups and downs of publishing a book, my guilt and shame over feeling occasional downs, and I also talked to her about a situation recently where I was hurt by a friend. I really believe people are good, I said to her. But sometimes I wonder if I'm too trusting or naive?
The session flew, as our best sessions do, and when our time was up, I fumbled for my wallet in my bag. But it wasn't there. Panic shot through me as I remembered paying my taxi driver with cash from my wallet. My therapist and I both looked everywhere. No dice. I thought about everything in my wallet and it was indeed everything - my credit cards, my state ID (I don't have a driver's license which is a whole other issue!), my passport, insurance cards, even a couple checks. I felt sick to my stomach as I said goodbye and fumbled with a parting joke: See how tired I am?
On the sidewalk, I fought tears and called my husband. I told him what had happened and that I would take a cab home but that he'd have to come outside and pay. I called the Taxi and Limousine Commission and was told there was little hope without a license or medallion number. I had neither.
Soon I was home and there was my handsome guy waiting on the sidewalk in his slippers. He paid the driver and we went inside. The girls were all aflutter, scrambling to dress for school and gobble breakfast, asking me how I would get my wallet back. I told them I didn't know, that I probably wouldn't, but that sometimes people are really kind and go out of their way to return things. As if on cue, my phone lit up with the name of my littlest's preschool. I was confused, but knew instinctively to answer. A wonderful administrator at the school said she had a man on the phone who said he had my wallet and she asked me for permission to pass along my cell phone number to this man, which of course I gave her (after thanking her profusely and jumping up and down).
Moments later, my phone rang and I answered. A very nice man, a doctor, explained what happened and I listened, smiling the whole time. A homeless man, a fixture in this particular neighborhood on the Upper East Side for more than 25 years, found my wallet on the sidewalk and picked it up. He then handed it to this doctor guy, who happened to be walking his dog, and asked that he try to find me. The doctor sifted through my bursting wallet and could only find the number of the preschool, which thankfully he called.
After I put the girls on the school bus, I raced back to the East Side. Turns out the doctor lives in the very building where my therapist works. I shook his hand and he returned the wallet. I left an envelope with some thank you cash for the heroic homeless guy, whom I wish I'd had a chance to meet. I kept thanking the doctor again and again and he chuckled and joked that when he loses his wallet on the West Side, I need to return the favor and find it for him. I promised I would. And then I did something which felt silly and also right. I handed him a copy of my novel and rambled something, I just published this novel which is probably why I'm such a mess and doing things like dropping my wallet on street corners. He grinned, turned the book over in his hands, and waved goodbye. I headed home.
He called before I even got home and left a message saying that he'd love for me to sign his book, that he'd leave it downstairs with the doorman. So, before I pick up my girls at school today, I will pop back to that building where my therapist tries to make sense of muddled characters like yours truly, that building where this kind doctor lives, and I will sign my book for him. I will write something heartfelt, earnest, exhaustion-laced.
After I put my girls on the bus this morning, I lingered for a moment outside our house. I breathed in the winter air and aimed my phone up at the bare branches and blue sky above me and I snapped a picture. I shared it. I had to. And I wrote words, cryptic and true: Monday morning. Oh do I believe in the goodness of people. Story coming soon.
This is that story. And as I write it, I drink coffee and smile.
Do you have a similar story about the goodness of people? If so, please share. And stay tuned for stories from the road!