Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nothing lost, nothing gained

Today I very stupidly lost my bag. I was coming out of the airport and forgot to pick it up off the conveyor belt at baggage reclaim (which is always a bit of a battle anyway). I was just being absent-minded. I grabbed the big bag and forgot to wait for the small one. It wasn’t until I got back to the office that I realised, and then had to rush back to the airport to search frantically for it, ask everyone… It was nowhere to be found. Inside was my camera (with most of my holiday photos), my spare pair of prescription glasses, expensive designer sunglasses, lots of exciting new and ridiculously over-priced development books from Nairobi, assorted toiletries, body moisturiser, face moisturiser, hand cream, special foot cream, Chanel moisturiser… you know essential things. But things I really treasured, not having so many belongings with me here. I surprised myself by feeling an almost uncontrollable desire to cry. I was so tired and I just really wanted my bag back. We got into the car to leave the airport and I was feeling a bit over-emotional about the whole thing (but hopefully smiling convincingly and hiding it well!). I was with the Logistician and the Driver, and I suddenly realised that they looked nearly as sad as I felt inside. What was in the bag? they asked. “Sorry, sorry” the Logistician repeated, shaking his head gravely and glancing downwards as if someone died every time I remembered another type of lost moisturiser. The camera of course rewarded particular dramatic effect and pathos. But as I listed the things they seemed suddenly dispensable and unimportant – of course. I don’t want to be trite and say I feel guilty about my relative wealth and good fortune, and the fact that I even own a digital camera and D&G sunglasses, but it did occur to me that feeling sad was a little melodramatic and not really necessary. At some point I can buy all those things again, but Mohammed the Driver will probably never own a digital camera, even once. Their sympathy and kindness made me realise what a spoilt girl I can be. I looked out of the window, and really looked at everyone making their way through the midday heat (44 degrees today) and the dust. I examined the lines and expressions on people’s faces and tried to imagine what they might have lost today. From my air conditioned bubble I felt the lightness of my fortunate life, and remembered that I’ll be just fine without Chanel.

No comments: