Tag Archives: creative nonfiction

Lost and Found

Inspired by a conversation at work today, I thought I would tell you 3 stories of things lost and found.


1. A Great Time at Great America

I was at Great America with some friends – I think this was in high school or maybe right afterwards. We were walking through the park when we saw a cell phone behind a chain link fence, under a roller coaster. We somehow fished it out, and I really wanted to be a hero, so I called “Mom” in the phone and explained the situation. The mom asked me to take the phone to the information booth at the front of the park, and she would call her son’s friend and tell him where to pick it up.

That wasn’t really enough to call myself a hero, so I didn’t take it to the info booth right away. And before we’d gotten around to it, the phone was ringing and I answered it. It was the kid calling from his friend’s phone, and he was happy that I’d found it, and we all agreed to meet up at the Drop Zone. We gave him the phone back and everyone was happy. What a great day! (In retrospect, yeah, the safe and appropriate thing to do would have been to take the phone to the information booth. But whatever, it all worked out.)

2. Milka: Does a Body Good

While in college at Davis, I was walking across campus when I spotted a wallet on the ground. It had very little info inside, but there was a student ID. When I got back to my room, I used the ID to look up the student’s Davis email address, and I sent her a message. She called me, very happy, and asked if I could possibly drop off her wallet the next day. It was a Friday, and I had no classes, but I said yes. Then she asked if I could drop it off before 10am, because she was leaving for a weekend in Tahoe with her friends. Ten sounded very early (I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now) but I said yes again, and she told me where her office was located.

She was a grad student in the German and Russian department, and I found her pretty easily. She was ecstatic, and offered me twenty bucks. I turned it down. Then she said, “Well, how about some chocolate? I bring this back from Germany, you can’t get it here,” and she gave me a Milka bar. It was plum and cinnamon, except it wasn’t even in English. It was delicious, and Drew and I have looked all over, and never found that flavor again. We still talk about “the best Milka bar.”

3. The Ungrateful Salad Eater

In New York, I worked as a cashier at a little lunch place that served primarily salads and sandwiches. One day, one of the guys who worked there found a purse that someone had left upstairs. I looked through the bag and found a paystub, and called the company and asked for the woman whose name was on it. When I told her that I had her purse, she responded very calmly. “Oh, okay.” Then I told her just to come pick it up whenever.

I noticed, when looking for her ID, that there were bunches of bills stuffed all over the place – it was super messy but there seemed to be a lot of money just haphazardly shoved in there. But I didn’t take any of it. Because morals. And then finally – FINALLY – this woman showed up, looking really bored, and just took the purse and kind of wandered away. No thank you. No gratitude. No relief. No offer of “reward.” And I sort of regretted not taking at least ten bucks for my trouble.


So there you have it.  Two stories have happy endings; the third is a lesson in doing the right thing even when no one cares what you do.

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Filed under Awesome, Drew, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing

Why the 7-Eleven clerk thinks I’m a shoplifter

When I told Drew I was going out and asked him if he wanted anything, and he told me he just wanted a regular Snapple iced tea, I thought it would be easy. But Target didn’t sell Snapple iced tea – Target didn’t sell any single Snapples. They only had 8-packs of Kiwi-Strawberry and Cranberry-Raspberry.

After Target, I went to Dinosaurs to pick up sandwiches for dinner…but all they had in the way of beverages were Mexican Cokes and a fountain soda machine. B and I walked over to the little grocery store nearby, which did have diet Snapple iced tea, so I bought one, just in case, and also a Henry Weinhard root beer because it sounded good. I put these into the same bag with the sandwiches, and B and I headed back home.

I decided at the last minute to stop at the 7-Eleven to see if they had Snapple. They had one left, so I grabbed it from the case. But all I had was a card, no cash, and so to make it seem more worthwhile, I also got a small sugar-free green slurpee.

Inexplicably, there was a long line, and I stood there, balancing a heavy bag of Vietnamese sandwiches and 2 glass-bottled beverages in one hand, a Snapple and a slurpee in the other hand, with a 25-lb baby strapped to my chest. At one point, B got his hands on the straw in the slurpee and flipped green slush onto his face and down the front of my shirt.

Right after that, the guy in front of me left the counter, and as I stepped up to it, the spreading wet spot (from the cold, condensation-covered glass bottles) on the paper bag I was holding gave out, and the diet Snapple slipped out and hit the floor. Normally, I would have just stooped down and grabbed it, or maybe it would never have happened in the first place, but the baby strapped to me makes it hard to quickly squat down, and so I stood there for a minute.

I thought I was mildly exasperated, but the clerk may have read it as guilty.

“What was that?” she asked, as the girl behind me picked up the diet Snapple for me. I thanked her.

“And what’s all this?” the clerk asked, gesturing to the bag.

“That’s stuff I’ve bought elsewhere,” I said. She was already ringing up the diet Snapple. “Oh, that’s not from here…only these things–” (gesturing) “–are from here.”

She looked at me doubtfully. I offered her the receipt from the grocery store. She didn’t take it. I hightailed it out of there.

So maybe she doesn’t still think I’m a shoplifter. But, she didn’t offer me a bag (which would have been helpful, given that my bag clearly had a giant hole in it). So there may still be some hard feelings.

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Filed under "Other people", Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome

Tetris + books = my life

I’ve been trying to figure out how to illustrate what I feel like my life has become: a cross between Tetris and books.

Unfortunately, I’m not an artist, so I can’t just draw it, and I don’t have any great skills with Photoshop, and I just didn’t feel that one of my typical MS Paint mashups was going to do this justice.

I’ve obtained a lot (and I mean A LOT) of new books lately. This is on top of already having a bunch of things that I haven’t read yet (and yet I keep thinking, “I love humorous non-fiction; I bet I will really like that book I bought when Borders went out of business and everything was 70% off”).

But then a couple weekends ago, I bought 7 or 8 used books at the library book sale, and I think I’ve only read about 3 of them.

I even checked out three books that day, although who knows why I felt like that was necessary.

I got books for my birthday this weekend (thank God some of them are for kids, so they’ll go quickly).

Although one of them is the FOURTH Game of Thrones book, and I have yet to start the third one! (Which I’m dying to do.)

I bought Jonathan’s book club book off of him, because he was just going to return it to the store. (But it’s The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta! I didn’t know anything about it when I turned over the cash, because I just have faith in Tom Perrotta, but it’s about the Rapture, and I don’t know if you know this about me but I’m kind of into Rapture stuff.)

And then I have to purchase my own book club’s next book, which I plan on doing from Amazon, but then I’ll want to add something else so I get to $25 so I have the free shipping.

It’s just a torrential downpour of books, and there’s no way I can keep up with them all. It’s like one of the later levels on Tetris, but instead of pretty colored shapes, it’s all books. But they’re piling up so fast!

At least books fit together well. Until you run out of space, that is.

Oh, I get it – it’s just like Tetris only none of the layers disappear when you fill them in. I guess that would happen if I actually read things, and then gave them away.

Why did I used to have so much time to read? I guess in New York I had the commute every day, and then both my roommates worked a show schedule, so I spent a lot of time alone. (Not in a sad way.)

But now, I just don’t have that same amount of time.

Although, I’m doing a cameo in wardrobe at Marin Theatre Company this weekend (started last weekend), and there is PLENTY of time to read then. Partly because the show is super easy (yay!) and partly because the show is short, so the break between shows is hours (yay!). So I’m going to try to get through as much this week as possible.

I would say, “And then I’m going to try to lay off acquiring books for awhile,” but it’s just not that easy.

That being said – anyone reading anything good lately?


Filed under Awesome, Being a girl, Books, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction