Where did we leave off in New York? Ah yes, that’s right. In the space of mere hours I’d gained new clothes, chocolates, and children… and then promptly lost the last of these to their rightful owner. I mean, mother.
Sometimes, when I go to bed at night, I think of the toddler and hope someone peeled his orange for him at lunchtime, or I think of the baby and wonder if she’s teething yet.
Oh, who am I kidding? Mostly I just wonder which of the newfangled chocolates from my travel stash I’m going to eat when I wake up. But this isn’t a chocolate review post, so let’s get back to New York, shall we?
Spawn-less, the Day Shifts from Hilarity to Sheer Panic
After relinquishing my claims to the Trader Joe’s children, I made my way to the cashier and gleefully handed over my tub of chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, pomegranate muffins, and half-kilo of peanut-butter-filled pretzels. Clearly sensing my joy, the saleswoman expressed her own excitement over “the pink ones” in the sunflower seed mix. Thus ensued a speedy Gilmore Girls-esque chat about chocolate, my 30-hour flight home the next day, and the requisite snack-stocking-up I was doing in preparation for it.
It’s such little connections that brighten the solo traveller’s day and so, buoyed by friendliness, I made my way to Garden of Eden for my third chocolate stop.
Twenty minutes and a heavy shopping basket later, I reached the head of the Garden of Eden queue and got out my wallet to pay.
Except, I didn’t, because I couldn’t.
My wallet wasn’t in my handbag, or my duffel bag, and when I pulled my backpack off my back, it was half-open.
At this point, I all but flopped onto the floor and went through everything I owned, to no avail. Remarkably, I stayed quite calm. I thanked the heavens that I had a few dollars in my pocket, so that I could get back to my hotel. I knew my first move had to be cancelling my credit/debit cards, quickly followed by calling my parents. I tried not to think about the fact that I had no way of accessing any money.
I remembered feeling a bump when leaving Trader Joe’s, and knew the pickpocketing must have happened then. I stood up, vaguely taking in the fact that the woman who had been about to serve me had expressed no concern over my loss-of-wallet panic. I half-ran, half-limped back to Trader Joe’s, steeling myself all the while for the inevitable reality of disappointment.
It wasn’t until I was facing my Trader Joe’s girl and she was smiling and saying “It’s okay, it’s here, it’s okay” that I realised how upset I was. I clasped my wallet to my heart and started shaking, gasping, and thanking the girl, in the grateful way I imagine wallabies at petting zoos must thank their god when the five-year-old who equates “petting” with “smacking” is finally pulled away by an embarrassed parent.
The nicest thing in the whole situation was the Trader Joe’s salesgirl. She came out from behind her desk to pat my back and smile at me while saying “I was hoping you’d come back while I was still working”, and I think her face may be my favourite image from my two days in New York.
Of course, I couldn’t pick said face out of a line-up now if you paid me, but shhh.
And Then What Happened, Hannah?
After exiting Trader Joe’s for the second time and taking a minute to lean against a wall so as to ensure I didn’t throw up (charming, I know), I decided not to go back to Garden of Eden for its chocolates. Look, maybe I’m a bleeding-heart hippy, but I can’t help feeling that if someone went white as a sheet, plonked onto a shop floor, and told me they’d lost their wallet, I’d at least ask if they were okay. Seeing as Ms. Eden Worker didn’t even bother with that, I decided to give all my re-found money to Whole Foods instead.
But you know what? I’m going to prolong this even further, because the Whole Foods story is worth its own post.
Also, I’m moving out to a month-long house-sitting gig tomorrow, and I haven’t packed yet. There’s no internet at this lady’s house (or a microwave… however shall I cope with my oat bran taking five minutes on the stove rather than three in the nuker?), so posts and comments may be a teensy bit less frequent for a while.
I’m almost certain I’ll have serious blog-withdrawal issues and end up buying some sort of mobile broadband, but we’ll see. There are one and a half hours of Masterchef Australia every night this week, though, so that might keep me distracted and entertained enough…