I felt a little inadequate this morning headed out on I-44. The speed limit was 75 and I could only do 70. Still, I was making progress.
Five miles into it a hunter green pickup went whizzing by me in the left lane. Once he passed me he slowed down dramatically and put on his blinkers. I thought he me may be in trouble but it took me a while to catch up with him. He looked to be okay, in fact he looked great. A cute young guy with his baseball cap on backwards (always a good sign.) Made me think of other things.
After I passed him he honked and pulled up next to me. I rolled down the window as he yelled that my trailer was open. It was a back door issue all right but not the kind I’d hoped for.
As best I could I tried to thank him while we did our synchronized turnpike driving. Then I pulled onto the shoulder. The door was completely up but things had been packed so tightly nothing seemed to have fallen. In the little niche the movers had left for my suitcase, however, there was a void.
I wasn’t sure what to do next, look for it or carry on and not waste time. I went into my anti-possessive mode: stuff was lost, nothing could be done, just figure things out going forward. A practical plan even though I had hoped to change my underwear at least one more time on this trip.
At the next exit I got off to make a quick backtrack. I told the toll booth operator what happened, she said to pay and go around and they would give me a refund. Easier said than done. To my repertoire of Uhaul moves I’ve now added the Y turn.
And it wasn’t just any Y turn, it was basically a blind one. I was blocking one lane of traffic but tried to leave enough room for traffic to get around. I inched back and forth until I righted my position. As I retraced the route, I scoured the shoulders and ditches for my bag. Nothing.
Back at the Hampton Inn I thought maybe it fell out in the parking lot. Nothing. I went to talk to the clerk hoping someone had found it. It was the same grouchy lady with the Lorretta Lynn hairdo who had been so gruff when I checked out. I explained the situation. She flashed a big smile. A police officer had just been there making inquiries. She told me how to get to the police station.
I drove three miles to the Miami Oklahoma Civic Center and spoke to the desk officer. He seemed wary. I don’t think they’re used to 65-year-old platinum blond queens with faux mohawks and Stones Tongue T-shirts. He told me to wait.
He came back with another officer who walked me back to the holding room. He peppered me with questions: what had I lost, where might I have lost it, what was in it. I went into a detailed description of every pocket’s contents when he stopped me. “Okay, okay, okay. Does this look familiar?”
I’m still baffled how this happened since the lock has nothing to do with securing the lever that keeps the door closed. It’s just there to prevent break-ins. Obviously I hadn’t locked it completely which may have created enough space for the lever to spring free. In a truly Francis Scott Key moment, I was shocked that the lock was still there when I did the initial inspection.
As I walked out of the civic center I thanked the officer and told him I felt very lucky. He said that a year ago some kids found a wallet and returned it to the department. It belonged to the owner of the Miami (Florida) Marlins and contained some major dough. The owner flew the kids to the other Miami, paid for a hotel, and treated them to a game.
I asked the officer if I could give him anything. He smiled, said it would be inappropriate, then patted me on the back. “You be careful now.”
There’s obviously some good Karmic energy in Northeastern Oklahoma. I’ve reevaluated my bitchiness and promise never again to say anything snarky about the Miami Oklahoma Hampton Inn, the Miami Oklahoma Police Department, the Miami Tribe, or the Sooner State in general.*
This era of good feeling may only last until the state line. Texas probably won’t be so lucky.
*this includes material I’ve been working on re: Timothy McVeigh, Uhauls loaded with fertilizer, Stillwater and the Kickapoo Nation.