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Thursday, June 15, 2006


A Tale of Frustration

Editor’s note: In the interests of protecting the innocent and guilty, I’m going to change the names in this story. You’ll see what I mean as the narrative moves along.


Last night, a major tech company whose name rhymes with Bewlett Backard threw a little Hawaiian-themed, gadget-preview, open-bar, fun-filled press event. Needless to say, I was there.

I brought my knapsack, which contained (among other things) some very important papers, my talis and tefillin, assorted electronic devices, and my jacket. I checked it in at the coat check. I went to mingle and learn about the company’s upcoming products.

Bewlett-Backard was very generous to us press folks, and the gift bags we received upon departure were both large and well-stocked with goodies. (I think the Elite chocolate Chanukah coins were a very nice touch, by the way. Good stuff!)

Of course, in my excitement over the goody bag, I left my knapsack unclaimed. I mentioned there was an open bar, didn’t I?

So I got home later that evening and realized my mistake. I called the (rhymes with) Best Bide Boft, which is where the event was held, and I left a message there. I also e-mailed the event organizers at (rhymes with) Borter Bovelli.

I figured that the bus stops near the Boft, so I got off there this morning instead of riding all the way to work. I called the Boft and spoke to someone whose name rhymes with Bichael. He said, “I don’t see it anywhere. You have to call the caterer. Here’s their number.”

So I called Bean & Beluca, the caterer. I left a message, and in the meantime, I took the train down to work. A woman whose name rhymes with Bava called back, said she’d contact the guy who ran the coat check. I called back an hour later, and she said, “He says he put it in the coat check room.”

I call back the Boft, and I speak to someone named (rhymes with) Bicki. “It’s not here. I got your message first thing this morning and I checked the coat room and it’s not there.”

“Can I come by and check?” I asked.

“Sure. But come soon, because there’s a wedding being held here tonight.”


So I shlep back up to the Boft. All the way uptown, I'm mumbling tehillim and "Omar Rav Binyamin..." to myself (sorry, DB), and I'm considering calling Kupat Ha'ir on my cell and making a 180-shekel donation, but I don't.

I go up to the sixth floor, which is where the event took place. And takeh, it's empty. But I check every closet, every cabinet, the kitchen, the bathrooms (men's, women's, and handicapped), the fire escape, the janitor's closet, you name it. My bag is really and truly not there.

So I call Bicki again. "Are you sure nobody turned it in to the main office?" I ask.

"I *am* the main office," she retorts. "Nobody gave me anything. But, Borter Bovelli left some boxes here on the 11th floor, so if you want, you can come up and check them."

So I proceeded upstairs and checked the pile of boxes (some $50,000 worth of hardware, if I had to guess), but my bag was not among them. Then I decided to find Bicki. She was in a back kitchen, with papers and a phone spread out on the steel countertop. This was the 'main office.'

I said, "Hi. I'm Michael. I haven't located the bag... but... wait a minute. That's it!"

"It is?" she replied.

My bag was sitting on the shelf of the steel countertop at which Bicki was working. It was *8 FEET away from her the ENTIRE TIME.*

"Ummm, I asked you if anyone turned it in to your office, didn't I?" I said, trying to be polite. "Has it been right here on your desk the whole time?!"

"Maybe," she said. "Nobody called me, and nobody left me a note. This is a very busy office, and nobody told me to look for it in here. But I'm glad you came up and found it!"


Thank you very much, Bicki. Next time something like this happens, look to your left and glance over the items on your desk before telling the person on the phone that their unclaimed objects are missing.

And I'm also left with a question: What would have happened if I'd taken her word for it, and just given up? At what point would she have noticed the strange black bag on the shelf under her desk? And would she have made the connection and thought to call me, when and if she did notice it?

I guess everyone is blind until Hashem opens their eyes, right? And 2 hours and some 40 blocks later, I have my bag. Happy ending.

Big deal. You lost your bag,shlamazel and you found it.
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