The Prove It Lost and Found
It was late, I was jet-lagged, and I'd just finished recording my first event from a new series of debates that I am producing for NPR called Intelligence Squared U. S.. And as the weather was in that in between place -- not summer, not fall -- while I'd worn a jacket in, I hadn't remembered it on the way out.
I remember later, and Charles, in a very kind and chivalrous way, returns the very next night to reclaim my lost jacket. Little did he know what sort of barkeep had kept an eye on my jacket.
He walks in, goes up to the bar and describes the lost item: a light weight black jacket, zippered front, two pockets with flap covers. The barkeep, let's call her Psychotic Fashionista Barkeep, or PFB for short, tells him that while, yes, she does have a jacket answering to that very description which someone left the previous evening, that his description is not sufficent. She wants names. Make and model.
The phone rings. It's a very confused Charles who hands me over to PFB. I describe the jacket and she explains to me that my description is missing the key element: the fashion label. I tell her that I haven't a clue, that in fact, the jacket was a recent hand-me-down from my older sister. And there we remain locked in a bizarre dialogue: PFB clearly believing that she is protecting a jacket for it's rightful owner, vs. me, the rightful owner, trying to suss out if she is on the level. She tells me it is from a very exclusive label. That, in fact, there is only one boutique in Manhattan. That she had two frenchmen as customers that night and what if it belongs to one of them? "Did they call and tell you that they'd lost a jacket with the exact physical characteristics of the jacket you found?" I ask. "Well, no." She admits. "Why don't I come down and see if it's mine," I offer. "No. You have to know the label. If you see the jacket, you'll just want it, it's just so nice." Thanks for the complement to MY JACKET. True, it is nice.
In my imagination, I follow her home from work. She unlocks the deadbolt and throws the door open. The door swings into an enormous stack of hundreds of lost umbrellas. She drops her keys down on the table, next to the display rack of sunglasses she's aquired from all those forgettful happy hour customers who arrived at her bar in full sun. She goes to her desk and sits down at the computer, checking her ebay store to see if any of her used designer jackets have sold.
The following evening I went over to Sample myself and picked up the jacket. My sister Jenny had furnished the label: Facconable. France. Yes, she'd furnished the label along with her remarks about regret at giving fine boutique clothing to a sister who clearly 'didn't know from T.J. Maxx.' PFB greeted me -- and I was reunited with my jacket (which, by the way, had my public radio conference schwag pen in the pocket). "I'm so glad it's yours. I wanted you to have it." "Right." I think. She sure didn't act like it. And poor Charles for having tried to do something kind and gentlemanly for me, only to be met with her suspicions and unnecessary protections! "Well, my sister will never give me another hand-me-down...because of the whole label thing." "I just didn't want to give it to the wrong person." PFB explained. Ok, plausible. Fucked up, but plausible.