‘Oh Jeez my bag! My bag! My bag! I have everything in it: my camera, my external hardware, my visa, my ID, my eye drops, my Oh My GOD my bag!’
There was I, standing in the middle of the 2nd Avenue, in the middle of Manhattan, in the middle of the world’s busiest city. I was in fact in the middle of a restaurant, where I just entered with a huge New York City feeling styled smile on my face just a millisecond before the:
‘Oh Jeez my bag!’
I tried to behave as a matured adult. No, I cannot collapse here, I cannot just make a tantrum, I cannot just start cursing. But God, I wanted it all so much! No, I am an adult in the middle of the Big Apple.
I just looked at boyfriend and could not stop saying: ‘Oh Jeez my bag!’
I saw the rapidly changing pictures in my mind running in front of me: I just arrived, it is our 3rd day, and we have 2 more weeks to go. All is gone. All screwed up. I lost all my money, my camera, my camera lens…
So before the total mental collapse a comfortable face with contented look met mine. He was sitting alone restfully beside a table for six and had another sip of his truly Italian espresso.
‘You left your bag in the taxi?’
‘Yes, I do not know how it happened; I never lost anything in my life. My God. Do you think I can get it back?’
‘Well, you are in Manhattan, anything is possible, but you have to be lucky.’
While my other half tried to reach the famous 911, the friendly face continued to assess my options.
‘Did you pay by cash?’
‘No-no, we paid by card.’
‘Ok, that is good. Did you get a receipt?’
‘Oh sure, sure, sure, right?’ – and I desperately looked at my boyfriend.
Then again it hit me ‘Oh Jeez my bag!’… I felt how the blood finds all the possible ways out of my veins; I felt how my mildly tanned color suddenly looses brightness to the palest version achievable.
‘I could have just run after him’ – came as my next thought. ‘After all, I got enlightened a second after the driver cheerfully told me ‘Enjoy NYC’.’
I saw his face in front of me. I was checking his pictured taxi driver ID all the way from the 54th and Broadway. I saw his face clearly; I remember I was trying to figure out where he might be from. By the end I figured, he was from Costa Rica.
The police did not pick up for the 5th time and the minutes were just running further and further from my last holds on that so-called thing that dies last: yes, hope.
Between thoughts, day-nightmares and reality, I remember hearing the comforting sentence: ‘if you have receipts we can track him back.‘
‘Yeah, but let’s hope the next passenger does not take it with him.’ – echoed somebody’s voice behind me.
Oh my God, the next passenger… I was sitting in the backseat just behind the driver. It was a van with perfect spacious room both sides of my chair. So as I sat down nothing seemed more apparent then to place my bag in that hole; the perfect hole for a women bag. A big women bag with all the … Oh Jeez my bag!
‘Yeah, so what did they say? Can I get it back? Do you think we can?’ – asked my boyfriend with endless screams in my wide-open eyes.
‘Ok, so lets call 311. We have the driver’s number. No, he cannot skip. We can track him. Right?’ – continued my desperate fight with reality.
So we called 311, the number specifically for these cases. Wow, there are cases like this? So I am not alone? I am not the only crazy half blond girl who does this? Me, who never lost a penny in my life, suddenly loose a whole bag?
I can only blame New York City and the taxi driver (because this is the most convenient to do, right?) New York for being my lover; and as we know lovers distract us, they make us literally loose our minds; and the driver for his jokes and incredibly friendly interactions.
Yes, it is all your fault, both of you. Go to the corner now!
‘Phone-call me? ‘
‘Yes, the phone is there.’
‘Yeah, hallo…Who? Oh my God, you have my bag? Thank you, thank you, thank you. Ok. Ok. Bye.’
‘What did he say?’ – asked my boyfriend sensibly.
‘I do not know.’
‘What you don’t know?’
‘I don’t know, I think he said he was bringing my bag.’
‘Yes, I don’t know, its like I forgot English…but yes, it was him, he is bringing it.’ (I guess)
I was walking up and down in front of the cozy Italian restaurant nestled among many others on 2nd Avenue. The friendly face was keeping an eye on me and I could tell, he stopped drinking his espresso; he was part of the scene. He was actively and voluntarily part of the happenings; but he was still very friendly.
After 10 minutes I could not resist but attack myself: How can I be this stupid, I should have asked his name or phone number or something. My God, he is not coming…
‘Why would he call if he would not come?’ – asked my boyfriend realistically. Well, this is one the many fundamentals where we completely complement each other. He, standing on Earth, while me, flying above Earth; and somewhere between us there is life.
‘He called again’, said the brunette waitress, who seemed to be part of the scene as well but with a colder, more formal distance, yet I knew she hoped as much as I did. ‘He said, he was in on his way’
Late. Great! What takes so long? He could not even get so long in this short time. I could not withhold my anger but rather my anxiousness of the usual what ifs…
‘But that’s there, it’s a van, like ours, right?
For the next minutes this was the game that we played endlessly but hoping to end soon; with a happy end.
And when my feet finally started to stand confidently again on the black high heels that I chose for that evening, then, there he was: my dearest driver in Manhattan.
He stopped beside us with a smile and there was my bag: closed, untouched, vibrating towards me and screaming: hold me, hold me, hold me strong!
I quickly opened my bag. Shamefully half to check all the values I had but also to look for my cash I knew was somewhere deep in that big black hole.
‘I did not touch nothing, you can check madam’.
I felt a blush going across my face.
Of course he did not. He is an angel; He is a person of dignity and value.
‘Would this cover your cost Sir? I am so thankful; you saved me. Thank you, I am never going to forget you. Thank you so much.’
And in the surrealistic reality he left; and I was standing in the middle of the 2nd Avenue, in the middle of Manhattan, in the middle of the world’s busiest city with a huge New York City feeling styled smile on my face attempting a second entree to the Italian restaurant:
‘Give me a glass of wine, please…I need a drink…’
And the friendly face looked at me for last; and we both knew: I was one of a lucky girl, but after all in Manhattan anything is possible…