Cartoon version of a Police Car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I wrote earlier about my trip to Curves last night. On my taxi ride home, I was content, but a little tired, not really focusing on the details of the trip. I helped direct the driver the last few blocks to our apartment, because it’s not on a main street. He dropped me off at the front gate of our complex, and I came inside to tell Dave about my evening.
This morning, I went to school, dressed as a witch, with a bag of treats for my Thursday morning writing class. I was so excited about showing Audrey (my taxi driver) my witch’s hat, that I forgot to get the money out to pay her. As I was scrambling to grab my wallet from my purse, she said I could pay her when she picked us up. Great! I got out of the car and Dave and I were ready to head into the building, when he turned to me and asked, “Where’s the hat?” Damn! I left it in the taxi. It took a few attempts to reach Audrey by phone, but I did. She and Dave were then scheduled to meet out in front the next time she came with a car load of students and she would give him the hat. So I was going to give him the money to pay her, and I couldn’t find my wallet!
Almost immediately, I had a recollection of having my wallet on my lap when I was in the taxi last night. I had been watching the fare and anticipating how much money to have out, and I hadn’t put my wallet back in my purse. So last night AND this morning, I left things in taxis. That’s NOT the way one normally does things. Still, after Dave got my hat and paid Audrey, he decided to go back home while I taught my class to see the wallet was actually at home. I appreciated the gesture, but I was fairly certain that he wouldn’t find it. Unfortunately, I was right.
When I finished teaching, we went out to catch the taxi. But Audrey wasn’t there to pick us up. Her brother, Mac was. I could write a blog post (or three) about the amazing things these people have done for me during my time in Taiwan. Today was just one more example of their kindness. When we got in the taxi, I told Mac that I left my wallet in a taxi last night. I was hoping that through his taxi contacts, it might be “almost” simple to put out some feelers. I wasn’t so lucky. He said, “I think I just need to take you to the police station. If you know what time it was, they can look at videos of a street corner along the way and maybe track down the taxi you were in.”
As you might imagine, this was not the way I wanted to spend my Thursday. I had several things that I wanted to do today–the most personally pressing one was finishing this blog challenge. (After this post, I have one more to do before midnight to complete 31 posts in 31 days–YAY me!) Anyway, we had to wait for a police car to take me to the station where the video equipment was. So there I was, getting into the back seat of a police car. There’s a first for a Taiwan experience! 🙂
So I spent the next couple of hours sitting in the police station. Mac stayed and explained everything at our first stop. Then he went along in the police car to the other station and helped with interpreting. After spending over an hour with me (and away from his taxi route), he finally excused himself at 11:45 and went back to work. It would be almost two more hours before we would be done with the police report and watching surveillance videos.
A Happy Ending
We were walking back home from the police station, when Mac called and said that he found that the taxi driver had turned in the wallet at the gatehouse at MCU, the university where I work. Then it went from department to department until it got to my department. So Dave went up to school the middle of the afternoon and picked it up. The money was gone, but I have all of my documents. I’m so relieved because those documents (my ID card and my insurance card) would have taken time, money, and a lot of annoyance to replace. So I’m grateful, and I’ve decided to pay more attention to taxi numbers when I ride, so that I can catch these things quicker. Besides, if I pay attention to the numbers, it will also focus me on keeping track of my stuff, so I don’t NEED to know those numbers.
With all the observations about thinking differently and noticing things about how I’m changing in that regard, this was a good reminder about how System 1 (the unconscious part of our brain) has to filter through all the incoming data. Of all the pieces of information that would have helped track things down today, I had very little I could actually give to the police. Luckily, I remembered where our last major turn was so that they could locate the videos for that location, but the make of the taxi, a number, even the time I was traveling through there–all of these things were lost in the haze of my just zoning out on my way home last night. It wasn’t that I didn’t remember. I just never noticed,
So I lost a big part of my day, but in the end, I have my wallet back, and I learned something more about my brain and about the details I should focus on while traveling in a taxi. And I got to ride in a police car on Halloween. Kudos to Mac and to the great officers at the police station!