bad day/good day

You're 13 minutes into a 7.5 mile run (on your way home after a half-day at the day job b/c you have to pick the kids up from 1st grade and preschool b/c MM is away at a retreat for a few days to be present as teacher for a local writing/publishing institution), needing to cross the street. You look left over your shoulder and see a biker approaching making your immediate crossing not possible. God fucking dammit motherfucking asshole you think. 

The biker slows, is talking to you. What the fuck you think as you pull your earbuds out. 
Hey man, he starts, some woman stopped me and made me find you. She said you dropped a bunch of stuff from your backpack, a ways back. You nod and say thanks. This isn't news b/c about half a mile back, as you were crossing the train tracks at the W end of the Tillikum Crossing bridge you noticed that your backpack had come slightly unzipped so you threw it off quickly, noting that your pants and work shirt were about to fall out and speedily threw them back in and zipped up before continuing down the path. This biker must be working on behalf of someone who saw that and is now showing unnecessary concern. Biker moves on. You stop your running app. You've been running 13 min and 30 sec for a total of 1.2 miles. Just as a precaution you take your backpack off to take an inventory. 

It's been one of those days already. Lack of sleep b/c daughter up a couple times in the night, up again at 5:45 AM. Groggy cognition. A heavy pot in the drying rack falling into the sink and breaking a wineglass, spraying glass shards everywhere kind of morning. You considered not even doing the run but you're training for a 1/2 marathon next month and you need to stay consistent w/ the training. Open the backpack: pants, shirt, undershirt, work ID badge, keys. All seems good. Wait. Wait. Where's the wallet? You check all the pockets. Can't remember exactly where you put it when you were changing in the locker room at work. It was in with the pants and shirt. Fuck. You double check. you triple check. 

A pregnant woman dressed in black approaches. She's the woman who stopped the biker. She said she saw a shirt and some headphones on the ground back there. The headphones, fuck. These are the heavy, cover-your-whole-head headphones you listen to on the bus to work. They're not in the backpack. The woman is apologetic for not having more details. She motions to her six or seven month belly and says she is running late for an appointment. You are so grateful and say so. 

Moments later you are walking back the way you ran. You can picture everything laying there. You must have been too hasty re-packing the backpack when it opened accidentally. You must have been embarrassed about your exposure to check thoroughly. You feel the gentle stirrings of panic in your belly. All the shit you'll have to cancel, all the dominos, forms, more forms, reapplications.

You attempt to still your mind. More than likely nobody did a thing and all your shit is laying there. This is Portland after all.  As you approach the intersection you can see something laying in the middle, just south of the train tracks. It's...your underwear and socks. Fantastic. No wallet, no headphones.

After walking the promenade back and forth, looking everywhere to the side you call MM and check at a nearby Starbucks. MM calls the credit union to put alert on cards. Starbucks says nope. You inventory to MM all the cards you had in that wallet: our shared cc, your filmmaking cc, 2 cc's particular to The Black Sea (long maxed out), your DL, your SSN card.

You find yourself in a nearby Cha Cha Cha asking the slightly gruff server about a wallet. He says nope. You find yourself noting the hillside littered with tents and makeshift canvas domiciles, skeevy and sketchy. You find yourself walking into a parking lot, pretending to be in the middle of a heated conversation on your phone so you can get eyes on the 3 homeless individuals huddled by a transformer next to their canvas-tethered shopping cart, to see if your headphones are around their neck, or if your emptied wallet is on the ground.

You call MM and decide to abort the run. Take the Orange line back home. You are starting to feel your stomach pulse with self-loathing. Why didn't you take more time to check your backpack you dumb fuck? You check your phone repeatedly. Nothing. You google yourself in aim to see if someone reasonable could track you down online. They could. But no one is calling, no one is emailing. You realize that a reasonable person would probably have just picked up the wallet and called you. A person with sketchy intent would have grabbed the headphones and wallet. You lost it at a heavily trafficked area, filled with Max, Bus, Street Car, Tram, nearby freeways. Anyone with ill intent could be long gone. That SSN card and DL together have merit. Lots a person could do. You google what to do if you lose your SSN card and the result is not reassuring. There is mention of someone using your SSN to buy property, to file false tax reports, to create fiscal accounts. You begin to panic. MM tells you to calm the fuck down. Get off at the Woodstock iteration of your credit union. Go in there and tell them what happened. Tell them you are home alone for 3 days w/ the kids and you need them to issue a debit card. There are pix on the wall of the credit union showing the business that existed in this same space in 1974. There are 2 people laughing on a bicycle in black and white. Their ghost/s must be here right now watching me. 

After credit union you talk to MM waiting for the 75 bus line to take you all the way home. Fraud alerts are filed. SSN alerts are filed. It's been 90 minutes now since you lost the wallet. You curse the dirty, skeevy homeless people who no doubt found your wallet and claimed it for themselves
On bus home you have moment of brief relief, thinking of non-attachment and identity. What could be more tethered to manufactured identity than a wallet, filled with signifiers, both accepted and invented. Maybe this is a good thing you think. There will be a pain in the ass ahead but maybe a good thing. Moments later you realized your day job business card was in your wallet. You call your colleague and ask her to check your voicemail. She calls back saying there is a sticky on your computer screen, left by the reception team: a woman found your wallet and has been calling non-stop. There is a phone number. The woman has the same name as your sister. You laugh in the driveway as you walk up to the front door of your house. 

You call the number. The woman says she is a runner too, was running and found the wallet and headphones, didn't know what to do. She grabbed them and took them back to work. She shares that her wallet was stolen some months ago on a business trip to Chicago - endless hassle trying to fly home and cancel cards - and she felt like this was karma, an opportunity to erase the negativity of her experience by one good deed. You agree to meet up to retrieve the wallet.

You call MM and laugh. You apologize for blaming your problem on dirty skeevy homeless people.  Your problem was your own. Your problem is your own. Your problem is part of you. 

Moments later you are in the basement, quality checking the DVD for your first feature film. You watch reluctantly having seen it a billion times in a billion forms. Your plan is just to watch a few minutes and then jump ahead but you get pulled in. It looks great, sounds great. Can it be that part of you is actually proud of this film, proud of what you made? These are strange sensations. Who are you? Having the DVD be almost done is amazing feeling. A long long road for a multiplicity of reasons. Shot 5 years ago, written across 10 yrs, intersecting with a person you used to be, the ghost of your intentions. 

You pick the kids up from elementary school and preschool. Lose your temper b/c they aren't listening. Later you will accidentally spill an entire bag of frozen blackberries in the freezer. Later you will attempt to get a peach out of a bottle for your kids and inadvertently tilt the bottle and pour sticky peach nectar across the floor. You will laugh about this. All part of a shitty day.

But then:

Later your father will tell you the oncologist has given the all clear. 

Later your sister will share some amazing, shimmering soul-stirring news. 

So, later you will decide to write it all down before you forget it. 
Before you forget about context and proportion.
Before you forget that two sentences of good outweigh paragraphs of bad. 
Before you forget about everything being an ephemeral puff of smoke. 
Here and then gone. Gone and then here.  A train arriving, a train departing. 

Your own ghost stands over your shoulder in 100 yrs, looking back/forward at you and laughs so fucking hard you can just about hear him.