January 15th, 2003

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Wallets and Findings

While walking around on an errand today, I found a Starbucks Cash Card in the gutter. Which was cool, I thought. Until I saw the REI Gift Card. And the business cards, and the receipts, and so on. It was the contents of someone's wallet, spread though the gutter. No ID, no credit cards, no cash, no actual wallet, but other stuff.

I gathered it all up, and sorted it out on my desk at work. I found a charge return receipt with a phone number on it. I called the number, and reached the owner of the wallet. He was in North Seattle (I'm in Kirkland, a half hour drive away), and had just noticed it was missing, and was in the process of cancelling his cards.

He was sad and disappointed that there were none of his IDs or his photos in the stuff I found, but was glad and touched that I would care enough to call him. I got his address, put it all in an envelope, and dropped it in the post.

Lost things make me sad. In fact, losing things is sadness, almost axiomatically. And thieves make me angry, almost beyond reason.
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Death and Hands

I was walking back to work from an errand, when I found a bird. It was one of those ubiquitous small black/brown birds (not a raven). It looks like it had flown into a window. It was thrashing around, with a wing limp and twisted, and was crying with pain.

I walked back to my Jeep, put on my work gloves, walked back to the bird, and gently picked it up and held it in my hands. I could feel the break in it's wing. It looked at me. I looked back into it's eyes. And then I broke it's neck. It gasped a few times, and then died in my hands.

This is the second time an animal has died in my hands, and only the first time that something has died by the strength of my hands. I've hit animals with a car, and I've been fishing and hunting before. I've dressed game. But this was something a little different.

It's such a little thing, but that bird was just a little thing too.

I wish I had had the power to end it's agony by repairing it's body. But I didn't. I had only one way to end it's pain, and I did the right thing.

But it still makes me sad.
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