14
Jul
08

How I Lost My Camera or How I Was Stupid.

So, I was on my way to Tainan right after my final fat-lady-sang-the-last-encore day of school (subbed for the first week of summer school), and had received my last hug sandwiches from the kids and so forth.  I had been operating with a sore throat and slight froggy voice for the week post-our big school trip to Hualien (which was beautiful, but rainy and a bit dazed in the company of many children and parents.)  I miss my students already, but after operating fueled by the ashes of burnout, I was ready for the year to end.

I was packed up and since I figured slinging a big bag on the back of my auntie’s scooter was ma fan (troublesome), I decided to be oh-so-much-more-intelligent and use two little bags and my backpack (which goes up front with her).

I wasn’t feeling so hot, but I like to soldier through colds instead of dealing with doctors, even though I really like my current doctor in Zhonghe (I found him after a few months of the morphing neverending cold which welcomed me to Taiwan and finally drove me to the doctor with double pink-eye added in– the demonic look was hardly effective behavior-management combined with the coughing and congestion.  He doesn’t drug me silly and has excellent English– I’ve happily referred colleagues to him). My suitemate beseeched me not to go sick as I was about to walk out the door.  I did remember that I’d forgotten my toiletries and ducked back into my room to get them before stumbling out of the apartment.

Well, I stopped off at a few places for breakfast, technical pen, etc., admired babies on the subway and got on the high speed rail.  Finally I slowly slipped into a doze next to the nice older lady beside me as the scenery whizzed by.  Suddenly, I was seized with the realization that there was more space in the seat than there would be if I had both my bags with me.

Then I began calling frantically on my cell phone to see if someone back in Taipei could help me track my camera down.  In case you haven’t noticed, I have severe shutterbug, and losing my third eye was putting me into a panic.  I do not recommend trying to sustain a cell phone conversation on the HSR.  In Taipei, it is perfectly fine to try to chat on a cell in the subway MRT, unlike it was in my days in NYC’s subway.  However, the HSR involves lots of tunnels, and travels so quickly it defies cell phone signals.

So, I left a couple messages, and called my landlady so I could call my suitemate (who reassured me on the third broken call that perhaps I was benighted enough to have left my camera in my room in my quest for toiletries, though I wasn’t benighted enough to leave it in the entranceway with my shoes).

I was back in Tainan to check on a possible job lead and hang out with the family.  Though I doctored myself with ba boo (a kind of non-creamy traditional ice cream that is very yummy), and lemon-honey (which I keep on mixing up with the “bee” in Chinese.  “Honey” is “fong mi” and “bee” is mi fong, but my aunt understood me anyway) tea, I was a pretty miserable wreck.  Relative intervention led me to my uncle the doctor, despite my assurance that I’d go back to Taipei and meet up with mine.

He took my temperature, announced excitedly, “You have FEVER!” (38.1 Celsius, which is over 100 Fahrenheit) and the nurse muttered something about my hong bao coming right up.  I was a bit confused, because I associate hong bao (red envelopes) with Chinese New Year money.  I get a prize for a fever?  However, it was a cluster of pills wrapped in red paper.

When one goes to the doctor in Taiwan, most commonly, one gets a buffet of pills and medicines, even for a simple cold.  I ended up drugged and asleep for most of last week.  (Aren’t I fun on vacation!?  Last year after school I ended up on horse pills.)

I finally got back after my last course of and began inquiring after my camera in Taipei (I’d filed a missing object report with the very nice info desk at HSR in Tainan who called up Taipei to check for me.).  After retracing my steps and asking all the very nice people (sometimes I feel like I’m on Sesame Street– I’m friends with the 7/11 clerks and my breakfast servers…), I finally made my way back to the MRT with a leaden heart.  I’d arrived too late to check their lost and found as soon as I got back from Tainan (which didn’t prevent me from asking the HSR people in Taipei).

So I stopped in at their lost and found, and was rewarded with the return of my camera.  I hugged it and convinced them that I was looney tunes.  I was, after all, already suspect, considering that I’d managed to lose such an awesome camera and not come back looking for it until a week later.  The tall desk protected the marvelous lady who returned it from me hugging her and dancing her across the room.

The lost and found service, I couldn’t help noting, had a veritable wall of umbrellas.
I’m still sniffling and using up pocket packs of tissues like nobody’s business…  Maybe I’ll go back to the doctor.

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