This entry describes a worry, not a phobia. A phobia is a fear so overwhelming it affects your ability to function. The worry that dominated my late afternoon-early evening was like a cloud that followed me around all evening, but, immediately upon resolution, it went to the “look back on this and laugh” category. That’s why I want to take to the blog and write about it while the memory and the feelings are still fresh on my mind.
This afternoon, I took the bus up to the Volunteers of America store on Indianola Ave. (I showed my usual interest in OSU football by not getting out of bed until the first quarter of the game against Kent State was well under way.) I got off the bus and was walking to the parking lot and my jaw dropped open. Chained up in front of Moody Street Trains was a blue Schwinn Meridian adult tricycle, identical to mine. I was tempted to stick around to talk to the owner when he/she came out, but I was in a hurry to get to the Volunteers store to look (in vain, as it turned out) for any decent under-priced LPs.
When I came back, the trike was gone. I walked home (a little over two miles), but I took a very circuitous route. I looked at a yard sale on Indianola near Arcadia Ave., but nothing there interested me. I admit that a tall stack of 78s at the Goodwill store near me did tempt me, but not at $.99 apiece, especially when I launched my collection with a banker’s box full for $2 two years ago.
When I came home, the trike was not on my mind. If you scroll back through this blog, you will remember that my first trike was a cherry red Schwinn Meridian, which was my birthday gift to myself in 2012. Less than two months after I bought, I came from a sleep study to find that it was stolen. (I had used a cable lock, which the thieves had neatly cut in two.) Immediately, I was on Walmart’s Website ordering a new one, this one a bright blue, and within two weeks, I was tooling around on three wheels again, happy as could be.
The lesson I learned from this experience was not to lock up the trike outside. So, the first rule would be that the new trike’s moorings would be in the dining room. (I also bought a U-lock, which is much harder to break than a cable lock, for when I had to lock it outside.)
I was not home long. I was on Facebook, and went through the small stack of mail my carrier left, and then I went out again, heading just south of campus. (This took much longer than usual, because the campus area was swarming with people who had been at the game, and cars barely moved on High St. People in varying stages of intoxication running in between cars did not make it a quicker journey, either.)
Normally, I would have made the trip on foot, but I wasn’t in the mood to have scarlet and gray-clad drunks getting in my face and shouting, “O-H!”, not being satisfied until I replied with “I-O!” (I was very proud of Susie one time when someone shouted “O-H!” at her, and she shouted back, “Get a life!”)
When I returned from my errand, I almost immediately needed to head out once more, because I had promised to meet a friend in Olde Towne East at the Columbus Free Press‘ monthly Second Saturday Salon. I wanted to see people there, and also wanted to see the movie Where Should the Birds Fly?, which would be showing after the meal.
While I was on the bus to Olde Towne East, the worry began to kick in with a vengeance. Even though I had been home twice since seeing the blue Schwinn Meridian sitting by Moody Street Trains, I was gripped by this fear that mine had been stolen again. I was almost tempted to text my friend and say I couldn’t meet her at the Salon, but I would have felt too foolish to try and explain why.
I enjoyed myself during the evening, although I had to keep reminding myself that I was worrying about nothing. After all, would it not have been “conspicuous by its absence” when I walked in twice that afternoon? I had spent much time at the laptop, which meant my back would have been to it the whole time I was at the keyboard, and if I swiveled my chair a degree or so, I saw the trike sitting there, but it just didn’t register with me. Surely I must have walked past it when I went upstairs to get my shoes or go to the bathroom before I headed out to catch the bus on High St.
So, the other side of my brain argued, it’s one of those things you don’t consciously notice, by the mere virtue of the fact that you see it all the time. I have a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s tavern license from New Salem, Illinois hanging on the wall to the immediate left of my desk (where I am now typing), but I could not recite any of its text from memory. A conversation between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in “A Scandal in Bohemia” kept nagging at me:
“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.”
“Well, some hundreds of times.”
“Then how many are there?”
“How many? I don’t know.”
“Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed.”
I engaged in some self-flagellation while the rational part of me took in the documentary and enjoyed the cuisine (chicken lasagna and Cajun beans and rice–I am capable of eating healthy food!). When I first saw the blue Meridian near the Volunteers of America, shouldn’t I have looked at it a little more closely, and checked for the slight dent and scrapes of orange paint (a souvenir of a close encounter with a fire hydrant) that would distinguish the trike as mine. The thought did not cross my mind at all. I was too enthralled that someone in Columbus had the same trike I did.
I think you already know the rest of this story by now. I came home just a little before 10, and I had the lights on within milliseconds of unlocking the front door. While the key was still in the lock, I looked into the dining room, and there was the trike in all its glory. I need to inflate its tires, and work out one of the dents in its wire cargo basket, but it was there. Trike *is* in dining room. Whew! I texted to my friend, who had been simultaneously sympathetic and amused about this whole plight throughout the evening.
After I shut off the downstairs lights and head upstairs to bed, I’ll probably curse the trike if I bump into it before I get on the steps. How short-lived my gratitude can be!