The Week of Lost Things

Don’t get me wrong.  I had a great week in many ways (see the soon to follow Coldplay concert review)–but I suppose when my summer schedule began to get more stressful, I stopped paying attention to some of the smaller things.  Some of the daily life things.  In the grand scheme, it isn’t a big deal that I almost lost two sweaters, and that I did lose my Viva La Vida Coldplay t-shirt, my gym lock, and three bathing suits.  But it’s getting a little unnerving to be missing so many things.  I like the excitement of college life but I can’t wait for the day when I don’t live in two to three different places per year.

The most packing I've ever done.

My site visit caused some of the forgetfulness last week.  Part of my program includes one visit where one or both of the Leadership Rice directors come to our offices, speak with us about how the internship is going, and then speak to our mentors/bosses.  In many ways it was a great experience.  I learned more about the many tasks I am doing well and it challenges me to not waste the second half of my internship, but to push myself farther.  On the other hand, it made me incredibly nervous.  Leadership Rice has really high expectations and I’m a perfectionist.  Those two don’t usually make for a stress-free experience.  I even dreamed about the site visit before it happened and then spent the rest of the weekend brainstorming ways to improve my performance while I slept.  I hope it doesn’t continue throughout the summer.  While I want to do my best, I don’t want to be thinking about Houston Center of Literacy in my sleeping hours.

On Friday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. at a Buccee’s in Madisonville, TX, I realized I was missing something very important: my wallet.  I had been so flustered from the site visit and packing up that I forgot to move this one important article from my laptop bag to my purse.  It was a horrible moment to search through my backpack pockets only to realize my wallet was back on my desk at Brown.  I had remembered to pack my phone charger, multiple notebooks, and even purchased a horrible fantasy audiobook for the solo car ride–but I had no way to pay for my gas.

I called my parents, freaking out.  The gas dial showed that I had a little bit of gas left, but not enough to get to Dallas, maybe just enough to get back to Houston.  But if I went back, I would surely miss the Coldplay concert and after the stressful week, I feel like I needed the break.  I walked inside Bucc-ee’s in a flurry, ranting away to my mom on the phone.  I approached one of the cashiers and asked if she would take a credit card number over the phone.  She left to go talk to the managers. I hated watching them all slowly gather in a pack in the middle of the store.  They gestured, crossed their arms, and glared back at me.  The original cashier walked over and said, “I’m sorry, but it’s against our policy.  We can take you to the Sheriff’s station–”  Another manager, a man in a white shirt, cut her off.  “How much do you need?”  I blurted out that I had a little gas left and that I was trying to get to Dallas.  He pulled out his wallet and handed me twenty dollars.  I promised to come back to the store, he nodded, and turned away.  The cashier wrote his name on the back of my receipt.  Smokey Peirce.

If it wasn’t miraculous before, it definitely is now.

Mr. Peirce saved my weekend.  If I didn’t have any faith in humanity, it would have been renewed.  When I recounted the rest of the story to my parents later, it made them reconsider how nice they are to strangers.  All I can say is that every day is a miracle and a learning experience.  Just because you leave work doesn’t mean that the growing life moments go away.  And that Mr. Peirce is getting the biggest Thank You from me.  I will never look at Bucc-ee’s the same way again.

When I returned to Rice on Sunday afternoon, the first thing I did was race to my desk, pull out my wallet, and took a picture of it to show my parents.  I would like to say this will be the last time I misplace such a valuable object, but I know it doesn’t work that way.

Although I reacquired my wallet upon my return to Brown, I lost my summer roommate.  Well, Wendy isn’t actually lost; she’s going back to her home in China for the rest of the summer.  Still, I no longer have access to a microwave and refrigerator in my dorm and more importantly, I’ll no longer have someone to talk to when I get home from work.  Though I like immersing myself in a good book or Doctor Who to de-stress, I have loved discussing books, the publishing process, boys at Rice, world travel, and various other subjects with Wendy.  Like I said at the beginning of June, I was so lucky to find such a different yet friendly roommate for the first half of my summer.  And I look forward to finding her again once we both return to Rice for the fall semester.

On a sadder note, I lost another precious thing this week: my dog Bandit.  I still remember when we adopted him.  I was six or seven years-old and Bandit was around 1 year at the time.  We’ll never know for sure since we adopted him from the pound, but he was at least fifteen years-old by the time of his death.

In recent years he has gone blind and deaf and in the past few months he had become increasingly sedentary.  I have said goodbye to him almost every time I have returned to Rice or left Austin for any lengthy period of time, but after this weekend, it was finally the real goodbye.

Bandit helped us get settled in our new home in Chicago.

When I got the text from my mom that they had put Bandit to sleep, it still shocked me.  I didn’t expect to feel so sad since I knew it was coming and that Bandit hadn’t been living a full and happy life any more.  Still, Bandit has been a part of my life for such a long time.  He has moved with our family from Tennessee to Illinois to Texas.  He has seen me grow up from a shy first-grader to a confident college student.  He helped our family grow and made sure my dad didn’t feel quite so out of place as the only male.  Though Bandit hasn’t been so easy to love in the past few years as he was most of his life, it’s going to return to a home without him.  But, while I am sad that he is lost to this world, I am glad that I have new cause to remember him and the effect he had upon my life.

The next few weeks promise to be just as hectic and exciting as this one, although I hope I can muster a bit more attention to where my belongings go.  I don’t want to lose anything else, and I don’t want to lose out on experiencing the wonderful world around me.


About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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One Response to The Week of Lost Things

  1. Pingback: Beyond a Concert Review: Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto | gladlybeyondaustinausten

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