It happened on the number 33 bus, which was heading away from the university in the direction of my doctor's office. I was passing the time in the best way possible - reading a Wonderful Novel - when suddenly, out of the blue, I had an idea for something I wanted to do with my own novel. I put down the Wonderful Novel, took out the ever present notebook and pen, and began to furiously scribble, in my impossible to read handwriting ('Joan must work harder with her handwriting.' 'Joan's handwriting looks as if a spider fell in the inkwell and tottered drunkenly across the pages of her notebook.')
I looked up and saw that my stop was fast approaching, or to be more exact, the bus was fast approaching the stop. I grabbed my two bags, made my exit, then sat down on a bench outside one of Vancouver's more elegant grocery stores in order to finish writing down my great, literary thoughts - before I forgot them. You see, I'd decided to give one of my minor characters a bit more pep and have her do something interesting. It would elevate her to a new status in the story. Pleased with my brilliance, which seemed to have been inspired by a couple of words in the Wonderful Novel I'd been reading, I popped the notebook into my 'capacious handbag' (wonderful description, first used by Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Ernest by Mister Oscar Wilde) and quel horror - the Wonderful Novel was not there! Like an eccentric bluestocking I rifled through both of my bags and then spoke words which no child under five should hear - fortunately no such children were in the vicinity - after which I sighed a great deal and clutched at my chest. Then I pulled myself together, but only just, and popped into the extremely expensive grocery store to buy a couple of things I really couldn't afford. After that I walked dejectedly down to my doctor's office.
"How are you?" she asked, brightly.
"I lost a book!" I cried in despair. Her eyes widened and she took out her blood pressure torture equipment and checked for signs of life. "Your blood pressure is normal for someone who's just lost a book," she said, puzzled yet somewhat relieved. This remark was followed by a lecture about how people who have had heart attacks should avoid stress (I reminded her that I am the mother of a teenager, so how could I possibly avoid stress?)
"It's only a book," she reminded me.
I reacted the way my husband does when I refer to hockey as, "Only a game." With shock and disbelief.
She explained that over the years she herself had lost many things and had learned to 'let go.' Then she demonstrated a 'letting go' breathing method which I tried and failed to find useful. She wrote me a prescription and sent me on my way.
Pills are all well and good, but I needed a book!
Next day I pestered the transit Lost and Found office - they were very sweet - and a miracle had happened. Someone found the book and handed it in, and my husband picked it up, on his way home from work, from the Lost and Found office and brought it back to me.
He is my hero, even if he does love hockey.
Who says chivalry is dead? Not I!
And that's how much I love books.