Have you ever gone to the movies and left behind a personal belonging that you didn’t even realize it was missing until you made it all the way back home at which point you reacted in serious alarm? The other day, this happened to me, but I have to admit it’s also a funny story that taught me a very valuable lesson.
It all began on a cloudy, drizzly, and cool August day where I decided to head to the theater for a bargain matinee. Having received much critically acclaimed buzz, I chose to see The Spectacular Now which was about a senior in high school suffering from alcoholism and a broken soul. For just under two hours, I was so deeply engrossed in the main character of Sutter, who is played by actor Miles Teller, that I held a deep urge to go the bathroom during most of it.
While I sat there, I did my best to sit as comfortably as possible, not only with that urge, but also with the physical pains I continue to deal with in my body. Like always, I sat in various weird positions in the relatively empty theater as I tried to ease my pain as well as that urge to run to the bathroom. What I didn’t know was that one of the pockets in my cargo shorts was halfway open and it was the one that always holds a pouch I carry that contains my personal crystals and recovery chips.
When the movie ended, I ran to the bathroom deep in thought about it, especially it’s ending that left me wondering what would happen to Sutter in life. By the time I got home about 25 minutes later, I was still preoccupied with thoughts on the movie. That was until I reached down into my pockets to empty them and relax for the evening, as I had no plans to go back out again. Unfortunately, it was in that moment where all of that reflection, deep state of pondering, and tranquility I was feeling, evaporated instantly as I realized my special pouch of trinkets wasn’t in my right pocket.
I did what most people might do in this situation, which was then to feel in that pocket a ton of more times thinking that it might miraculously appear there with one of those attempts. It didn’t of course and I ran around the house thinking I might have set it down in the places I had gone to since arriving back home. But I hadn’t. So I raced out the door and into my car thinking maybe, just maybe, it might have slipped out in there somewhere while I was driving. But it hadn’t. After a few more times of repeating the same behaviors almost obsessively by going in and out of the house to look for it, I got into my car and decided to start frantically driving back towards this theater, forgetting about all appropriate driving measures.
My phone fumbled in my hands and almost dropped to the floor as I broke even my own cardinal rule of using it for anything but a phone call while I’m driving. I searched in desperation for this theater’s direct phone line on the web and when I found it, I realized it was only the recorded line. After barely listening to the message, I hit zero multiple times thinking that would connect me quicker, but it only reset me back to the beginning of that recorded message. Finally, I mustered up a slight bit more of patience as I merged onto the highway heading towards that theater, and hit the right combination of numbers to get the recorded voice to tell me what the direct phone number was.
When the manager answered the phone from the theater, I rambled off as quickly as possible the exact location where I sat and what I had lost. I know I probably sounded quite desperate, but this pouch contained some things that had deep meaning for me, especially with where I’m at in my life right now. I said something of the sort to that manager who then placed me on hold as she went to look for it. As I continued rocketing towards that theater, I realized I had reverted to my old terrible driving skills. By the time I was no more than a mile or so away from getting back to the theater, the manager came back on the line and told me she didn’t find it. I responded that I was almost there and would help her look again, convinced she had missed it. Minutes later, I was entering that theater again, but this time wondering if I was going to interrupt the next movie being shown by having to ask people to move while I searched for the pouch. Thankfully, neither was true.
After kneeling on a floor that I wished I hadn’t and placing my hands through all that stickiness to find nothing, I got that sinking feeling inside that the pouch was gone for good. Regrettably, I even asked the manager as I got ready to leave the theater if she trusted her employees who cleaned the theater as I thought maybe one of them took it. If anyone could have seen me leaving the theater my second time that day after giving that manager my contact information in case it turned up, I would have looked like I had just attended a funeral.
With a last ditch amount of hope, I drove recklessly back home, breaking my own driving rules once again as I thought maybe somehow it was there and I just hadn’t seen it in my previous frantic search. As I ran back into the house, and past my roommate’s dog who looked at me like I was crazy, I headed upstairs to my bedroom, and unbelievably, there it was. Sitting on my bedside, where I had left it the night before, the pouch had never even been put it in my pocket earlier in the day when I had left for the theater! As I placed it back in my pocket, I thanked God immensely and forgave myself with a smile for how silly the whole thing was.
There’s a lesson in this story for me. And it’s about slowing down, even in my times of greater stress. If I had just taken one of my own moments, breathed, and allowed myself to have a little less fanaticism about my supposed loss of that pouch, I would have realized it had never been lost in the first place and saved myself a lot of unneeded hassle…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson