Monday, August 15, 2011

The Wandering Watch

What an amazing weekend!  I'm mentally exhausted but emotionally exhilarated.

Saturday started off normally. 
It was my everlovin' husband's birthday, so I was planning on taking him to dinner.  During the afternoon I made a mall run to get a replacement battery installed in my watch.  Most people would see this watch as a very dated vintage piece as the band is the nugget gold that was popular in the 1980s.  But to me, it's a very special watch because it was a gift from my darlin' and I've worn it every day since April of 1986, except for the few days when it needed a battery replacement and wouldn't run. 

The actual battery replacement was quick and uneventful.  The jeweler commented on the watch, saying that because gold had increased so much it price that it would cost more than a thousand dollars to buy a comparable watch today.  I wasn't planning on selling, but that was good news.  Since I was already wearing my "emergency watch" I put the good one in a zippered outside pocket of my bag, stopped for an Orange Julius in the mall, made a purchase at one other small shop across from Orange Julius, then went directly home. The first thing I did upon arriving home was to check for similar watches on ebay.  Sure enough, there was a watch exactly like mine offered for a starting price of $1,199. 

As husband and I readied to go to dinner, I opened the zippered pocket of my bag to retrieve the watch.  IT WAS GONE!  Since I often tend to think that misplaced items are "gone," husband assured me that it couldn't be and he helped me search every pocket of the bag and felt every crevice of the lining.  No watch.  Then I noticed that the zipper was defective and after being zipped, would split apart.  It must have fallen out.

We both checked my car.  No watch.  I called the shop where I had made a purchase to see if they had found a watch.  No watch.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner but I was heartsick.  Even woke up several times during the night, thinking of the watch. On Sunday, I drove back to the mall just before they opened to check out the exact area where I parked.  Even if the watch had been crushed, I still wanted it.  There was no watch.  I went back to the jewelry store and asked one of the same clerks as had been on duty the day before if I might have left it on the counter.  She told me that I had put it in the outside pocket of my bag, which is exactly what I remembered.

Sadly, I headed home.  As I passed the Orange Julius stand, I noticed that the same two women were working and that at the moment, there was no line awaiting service.  I stopped and asked the same person who waited on me if, by any chance, they had found a watch yesterday afternoon. 
With a big smile, she picked up the watch from under the serving counter and handed it to me.  I was so stunned and so pleased that I burst into tears.  I tried to get her name but was unable to do so because of the background noise from the food court and because it was not a name that I have heard before.  She explained that her boss, the other woman on duty, had found it.  Jubilantly, I went back to the jewelry store, still crying with delight, and told the clerk what had happened.  The following day I went back to Orange Julius with a thank-you card containing an appropriate reward for each of the two women who had held my watch for me.  I will never be able to thank them enough and will always think of their honesty and accommodation every time I pass an Orange Julius stand.

While I'm thrilled to have my watch back, I cannot help but ponder how limited the opportunities are to recover lost property.  There are few "Lost and Found" procedures still in place.  There was nothing potentially helpful in our rarely-read local newspaper. Have we become so insensitive that we cannot relate to another's profound sense of loss and make sure there are ways to match lost items with their owners?  It may be old-fashioned, but it's part of a sense of community and I miss it.

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