Monday, November 5, 2012
Lief, Octaviano, and the Great Taxi Adventure
Meet Lief the Apple. I take him with me on pretty much every trip. However, yesterday, for the first time, Lief took a trip by himself.
Last night I arrived in Chicago, land of the giant bean, for work. Me and four strangers crammed into a taxi cab, and to say it was snug would be a misrepresentation. My personal bubble popped before we even started moving. If I saw them on the street again, I'd be hard pressed to make eye contact. So, when we pulled up to my hotel I climbed over knees and legs and didn't stop until I hit pavement. The cabby handed me my rolly bag and I hurried inside.
Octaviano was helping me check in when I realized I was missing my backpack.
And in it, Lief.
My stomach is made of cast iron lined with tempered steel, and I almost threw up. While I prayed and tried to decide whether to have a full-fledged breakdown or be calm and collected (which involved cataloguing all I would lose--manuscripts, pictures, ideas, resources, and Lief himself, who is dear to me) Octaviano got online, helped me find the cab company, and then stayed on hold for at least five minutes until a genuine person came on and he explained the situation, then handed the phone to me for details. I gave the cab number and they promised to call if they found the bag. I asked them to call either way. It would save me from harassing them every thirty minutes.
When I hung up, he had my room stuff available and told me he wished there was more he could do.
I hadn't even gotten the room key from him when my phone rang. We both hovered close as I answered and the lady told me that yes, my bag had been found and the cab driver was headed back my way. Me and Octaviano both started jumping up and down and then I ran down to the entrance to await cab 3810.
Sure enough, he came back with the whole North Face bag intact, including my beloved Lief.
It was one of those moments that could have been ridiculously awful or ridiculously amazing. Thankfully it was the latter. I hugged Octaviano. As intimate as I'd gotten with the strangers in the cab physically, Octaviano and I had been through a crisis together and we bonded at a deeper level than I've ever bonded with a hotelier before.
Then, me and God spent at least half an hour letting the adrenaline dissipate as I thanked him for Lief, for getting Lief back, for an honest cabby, for helping me remember the cab number, and for Octaviano. Thanks, again, Lord, for the good people you put in my path yesterday and for this laptop and all the creative spark-gifts you've given me that it holds. Thank you for technology that makes a skinny little thing like this so powerful, and most of all for being with always, even when I'm half-crazed and queasy. All my love.