And now for the tale of my terrifying evening at the park:
I went to the park two evenings ago. I had just returned from my dental check-up (Everything's a-okay! My gums are healing nicely and I have no new cavities! And Firefox does not think "gums" is a word. Oh, silly Firefox!), and the weather was so dang beautiful out that I decided to take my hoop to the park and play, even though the sun was nearly set. I changed my clothes, charged my iPod for about five minutes, grabbed my hoops and iPod speakers and headed that way.
Upon arrival, I set myself up next to a table in one of the many pavilions our park houses. I set up my speakers, kicked off my shoes, took off my glasses (so as to not accidentally break them should I whack myself in the face with my hoop), and took to the groove. Well, I've found that if I'm on uneven terrain, it throws off my whole groove, and in the center of the pavilion was this nice, lit-up circle of smooth concrete. I resisted hooping there at first, because I didn't want to feel like I was showing off when really I was just practicing, but after a few songs on the dirt, I decided to move that way. I didn't feel like dragging my purse and everything over to the middle, so I stuck my stuff in a corner of the bench. It was dark out by now, and so my purse would be nicely hidden by shadows, and it was only a few feet away from me. I carried my hoop and my music to the middle, and jammed.
After one song, I began to feel nervous for my stuff. So I walked back to the table to pick everything up and move it closer to me. I headed for my shoes first, but I couldn't find them. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "Did I move them to the bench with my purse?" So I checked over by my purse. No purse. Purse was gone. Water bottle, shoes, keys, purse, glasses, extra hoop, gone. In one song, someone had walked right up, snatched my stuff, and ran off. Probably laughing at what an unobservant moron I was in the process, how easy I'd been to pilfer from.
My brain has something inside it that refuses to let me panic. I'm grateful for this particular feature. It takes a LOT to really, honest-to-god wig me out. So my first thought was, "Okay. No problem. Jim & Jessie have my extra set of keys. I'll just call them, they can bring me my keys, and everything will be fine." I reached for my phone only to remember it was in my now-missing purse. "Okay, no problem. There's a family playing on the playground equipment. I'll just ask them to borrow their phone, call Jim & Jessie, and be on my way." I don't know any of their phone numbers. They were all in my long-gone phone. "Okay. No problem. I still have my iPod at least, I still have my favorite hoop. Jim & Jessie only live a couple miles away. I can get there. It's mostly sidewalks, so it won't matter that I'm barefoot, and I know the way so it won't matter that I can't really see without my glasses. I've got contacts at home, and they have a key to my apartment, and everything will be fine."
As I'm walking towards my car, resigned to making the trek to my friends' house, feeling grateful that at least my car was still here, I take inventory of what was in my purse. "About five bucks in cash. No problem. My bank card...I just have to cancel it as soon as I get back. My DS...that's okay, I can get a new one...my driver's license...not so awesome, okay, I can report it...may have to deal with some identity theft issues...at least I still have my iPod..."
I get about a foot away from my car, when I imagine driving back with Jim & Jessie, and us doing a new search of the area. "I should go back and look one more time, just to be safe." I head back to the area, scour the table again, it's still empty...when I look up and see my shoes.
Sitting at the next table over.
And right there on that same table's bench, my purse, water bottle, keys and glasses. I'd been looking at the wrong table.
"Oh, thank god," I cry, and only then let the suppressed panic adrenaline rush through my body. "It's time to go home," I say to myself. Hells yes it is, and I gather up my stuff and get the hell out of there.