In the early hours of April 8, before dinner, I ended up doing 300 squats, since I had been skipping days and had kept putting off doing them that day as well. Then I meant to eat and go to bed earlier, since, contrary to what I had thought three weeks earlier, there was another tree planting event that I could attend that spring. However, after getting ready for the morning, it was 4:45 AM when I went to bed, without changing out of the clothes that I was wearing inside those days, since I had decided to also wear them that day, so the nap I had before 5:45 AM, when the alarm rang and I got up, was probably shorter than the half hour or so that I got in the evening. Then I had something to count as breakfast, added another training shirt on top of the one that I was already wearing and a second pair of socks, and left at 6:55 AM.
I jogged to Dristor, getting there in less than 15 minutes and just pulling that thing that I was wearing on my neck up in order to also cover my nose on the metro, even though I had taken a mask with me. And I was at Opera Square at 7:25 PM, which gave me time to use that toilet before entering the bus… And ending up sitting next to that guy who was my teammate in the autumn of 2018, and whom I had ended up sitting in front of a year later, across from last spring, and behind in autumn. After giving him a nod when I saw him, I had initially meant to keep going, but others met just in that spot, shaking hands over me and blocking the way, so I asked whether the seat was free and sat there after all.
I did see one guy who was wearing a mask, but that wasn’t enough to make me feel less awkward about taking mine out, so I still didn’t. And, despite having been told that all buses will leave by 8 AM, it was almost 8:15 AM when we finally did, and while we were waiting the bottom of an overhead luggage compartment fell over those who were sitting under it, though at least there were no injuries, and it was taken outside and placed in what would otherwise be the checked luggage compartment. Either way, once we got going I put on the headphones and read, since I had taken Fire and Blood with me, though that implied needing to manage carsickness, so it probably helped when I had to take brief breaks when we were given the bags that contained a few things and the wristbands, and when the coordinator asked who wanted to sign the contract on paper instead of using their app. However, though I raised my hand and so did another guy, the coordinator just asked each person for their names, in order to fill that form. He does have an excuse for forgetting, however, since we started to smell fuel, then there were some worrying sounds, and then, some 35 minutes after leaving, the bus stopped. There were no announcements, but the driver went to the engine, opened the hood, then came back and tried to start it again, giving up after that only resulted in some pretty bad shaking. After that, the coordinator also stepped off the bus, still without making any announcement, and when I stepped off as well I saw that he was furious, and also worried about possible panic, though there didn’t seem to be any. And we were close to a gas station, so after a little while I went to pee one more time, just in case. It was past 9:30 AM when we got moving again, in another bus, which had been sent to replace that one.
We arrived at 10:20 AM, so the others had been waiting for us and I rushed to get a sandwich, tea and an apple, putting the apple in the backpack and doing my best to fill that contract which hadn’t been given to me on the bus, eat and drink while the speeches started. I was walking around the area by the time they finished, then there was the group picture and we got to work, the fact that I didn’t grab a shovel right away making me worry that I won’t be able to work alone after all, since almost all of them had been taken by the time I came back for one. However, I spotted a guy who was unwrapping what was probably the last bundle and was able to get one from it, so I could still work alone, planting 20 trees before taking a break. A woman jumped in to help with one at one point, after her husband had walked away for a little while, but I said that I could handle it and she didn’t continue after that. On the other hand, the music wasn’t suited for such an event; I could pretty much feel it slowing me down.
I took that break when it was almost 12:25 PM, using the toilet and getting another sandwich, tea and apple, though I once again put the apple in the backpack. And I also saw bananas while eating the sandwich, so I went and grabbed what seemed to be the next to last one, and I did eat that… And then I felt rather awkward, because at 12:50 PM lunch was announced, so I went to take that as well, leaving the shovel where I had sat… Only to find someone else sitting there when I got back, and that person was actually a former TV show host who mainly switched to on-line activities, so others were gathering around him as well and I looked for another place, ending up sitting next to a couple and even exchanging a few words with them. On the other hand, on top of those who were dumping everything, including unfinished food and drinks, into random bins, an unpleasant surprise was the number of participants, including Scouts and youth, who seemed to want to separate their trash but genuinely not know how, the resulting mess making even the girls who had sorted what was already in the recycling bins while I was eating the sandwich and banana give up and just tie trash bags to them. Either way, after lunch I grabbed yet another sandwich, hoping for a vegan one but finding that none were left and even the tent where vegan food was supposed to be had regular ones instead, which must have caused quite a number of unpleasant surprises. And I also took one more apple, which I once again put in the backpack, and another tea, in the same cup, after having meant to do so when I got lunch but leaving it for later because those from that tent were busy and ignored me when I tried to ask.
I finally got back to work at 1:35 PM, after a singer had taken the stage, and after a while I ended up commenting out loud that she was mostly singing drinking songs, sarcastically adding that they must be very “educational” for all the children who were present, and some of those who were around me at that moment agreed. Either way, after first taking a planted tree out by accident, not noticing that it was there, and replanting it, I planted ten more trees. At one point, a woman told me and another guy who was also working alone to team up, but I didn’t want to, continuing to work alone and seeing three more holes left in my area after planting those ten trees. However, a couple also spotted them as I started planting in one, and I think they planted in the other two, though there is a chance that they only did so in one. Either way, we then started searching and I clearly recall finding one more spot, close to the river, but it’s possible that I found one more before that as well, since I made a note that I planted 33 trees, plus the one that I accidentally removed and replanted. But I remember thinking that I might have miscounted by one, so I’ll say that I planted 32 to 34 trees, plus that one, before I stopped working, at 2:40 PM. Then I used the toilet again, saw that a couple of sandwiches were left and took yet another, and otherwise took it easy… And also took some final pictures, the fact that I can only link to the official ones leading to the reason why I couldn’t write about this day for so long.
Things might have been very different if the bus that I had arrived there on wouldn’t have already left, but it had, since many had wanted to leave earlier, so I had to get on another one, stepping on at 3 PM and seeing a second person with a mask, but still not putting mine on. The guy who had been my teammate in the spring of 2018, and who had also recognized me in the autumn of 2019, sat next to me, after having noticed me and saying that we knew each other as I was about to finish working. Either way, it was past 3:10 PM when the bus, which was the last one, left, and for some reason I didn’t even check the pictures at that point, just putting the camera back in its cover… Only for it to just vanish from my mind after that.
I think I meant to put it in my backpack, but I have no idea whether I did that or put it in the jacket, or in fact left it on or between the chairs because I wanted to rearrange what I had in the backpack and take out the book and then forgot that it was there. I do know that I was digging through the backpack, actually thinking that I had taken too many things, having also grabbed I think three bottles of water, or at least two of them, I’m not quite sure anymore, and I was going to pay for it in some way, when my jacket fell from my lap, since it was hot on the bus and I had taken it off, and the noise I heard seemed to indicate that something heavier than what I knew I had in the jacket’s inside pocket had fallen out, but what I found, after both looking and feeling around, was everything I knew I had in that pocket and nothing else. There’s also a chance that I was just about to put it in the backpack at that point, but dropped it somewhere in order to retrieve what had fallen and then forgot about it. But what’s certain is that I did forget about it, just putting on the headphones, finishing a chapter and then just sitting there, unable to keep reading since the nausea caused by the carsickness was worsened by the stench… Sadly, I was the source of plenty of it, but I was likely far from the only one.
Things might have also been different if I’d have joined those who got off the bus at an earlier point, where the driver agreed to stop, but I waited until we got back to Opera Square, at 4:35 PM… And then I found myself unable to get my arm in the jacket’s right sleeve and couldn’t figure out why. Then again, I was really feeling the lack of sleep, my brain not really working anymore, so instead of realizing that it had probably ended up out of shape after struggling to get it off after sitting down, and with that guy sitting next to me, or at least looking to see what was going on, I just kept trying to push my arm through until I gave up and just stood there, with the jacket hanging partially off me, waiting for others to move and allow me to leave the seat… And not even using that time to look and see whether I had left anything behind. I actually remember thinking that I should look, but I just couldn’t quite “process” that idea, so I just stood there until I could get off the bus, still sort of holding on to that side of the jacket, and with the backpack also hanging off my back, since I could only put on one of its rope straps.
Another chance to set things right and check would have been at that point, but when I saw that the light was green, I just rushed to the metro station right away, and I’m not exactly sure but it’s possible that I even let go of that side of the jacket when I dug out the metro card. And the metro came right away, so things hadn’t changed when I got on and deciding to sit down when I spotted a free seat between two women meant that I once again found myself with very little room to move, so I eventually forced my arm through and heard something tear, though at least I could get both the jacket and the backpack on properly after that. And, while what I did while I still sat down was gone from my mind even before I got back, I know that I got up before the metro reached Dristor, to make my way to the back, and once again thought that I should turn to look whether I had left anything behind but still couldn’t get myself to do so, just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. Either way, I switched at Dristor, since that metro was also leaving right away, and I was almost back here when I realized that I hadn’t taken the keys out of the backpack, so I started digging through it while walking, but since I couldn’t find them like that, I put it down on the bench that’s next to the building entrance… And I think that I just took out two water bottles before managing to find the keys and struggling to unlock and walk in while holding the backpack and the bottles in my hands. But, of course, when my brain was pretty much shutting down, I can’t be certain that I didn’t take out something else as well and then just left it there, since I once again didn’t even turn to look after stepping away from the bench.
It was almost 5:10 PM when I got back here, then I took everything out of the backpack and pockets, took off those clothes, sewed the tear from the jacket’s sleeve, leaving another one that I noticed after that, read The Lords of Midnight: The War of the Solstice, wrote the quick review, to have something as the week’s first post… And it was only as I got ready to leave again and meant to take a picture of a receipt from Carrefour that contained one of those vouchers, in case it’ll be taken away, that I realized that I didn’t have the camera! I hadn’t noticed that it was missing when I took everything out and rushing to read that novella and write that quick review meant that I didn’t look for it in order to copy the pictures on the computer, so if I wouldn’t have wanted to take that picture I wouldn’t have realized it even then. Either way, I looked around, confirming that it really wasn’t here, and then sent a message to the NGO who organized the event, and I received a reply saying that they’ll contact the bus company… And my mistake was wanting to believe that they’ll sort it out and I won’t have to talk to anyone, so I didn’t ask for the contact information. And I was pretty much in shock anyway, not that it made much of a difference when my brain was already functioning so badly because of the lack of sleep.
I still went out again, as planned, when it was almost 7:45 PM, finally wearing a mask… And a man was sitting on that bench at that point, but instead of asking him whether he saw anything, I shied away from even really looking in that direction, just going back to the spot where I had started digging through the backpack and looking around. However, I didn’t remember locking the door, so I then rushed back to check, finding that I had locked it and then walking out again. And it was only at that point that I beeped dad, telling him that I had lost the camera when he called back. Of course, he said that it’s just a thing, it doesn’t matter, we’ll get another, being unable and unwilling to understand that it does matter for me, and ignoring the fact that the pictures aren’t something that you can buy again, and most of those that were still on that card were taken by him. I do hope that he had at least saved those from grandmother’s 100th birthday, and he later said that he did, but didn’t know where, and I’m not aware of him ever finding or even searching for them since then.
Either way, I went to Carrefour Park Lake, to get beer for him, getting three in order to be able to use that voucher, but being unable to because it can’t be used for alcohol, which had obviously slipped my mind at the time… And it also slipped the cashier’s mind, so she initially called for help, but realized it before anyone actually came and told me what the problem was, so I just paid normally. Then I put the beer in the backpack and took the metro to Pallady, entering Auchan with the backpack and just finding one last bread for dad, but none for myself. There was one more thing that I should have looked for, also for dad, but I forgot, so I just got him some water as well, using the little amount that was on the store card at the self-checkout.
The schedule I saw on the door of that Kaufland listed the closing time as 11 PM, but it also stated that it was going to switch to those hours from April 10 and I obviously just ignored that part, thinking that I had plenty of time, putting everything in a cabinet, probably going to the toilet, though there’s a chance that I just washed my hands, and walking in when it was past 9:35 PM. And the low evening discount that I saw for that bread, and which I confirmed after scanning the label, reinforced my belief that the store wasn’t about to close, so I didn’t get any, but I did get something else that I could use as bread, since that did have a good evening discount. And I also found those small bottles of Pepsi Max that were sold for next to nothing those days, in exchange for recycling five items, probably being left because, as I had noticed on the way in, the recycling machines weren’t working at that time. So I got two, in order to use the vouchers from two days earlier, when I couldn’t find any, and also some radishes that had an evening discount. A woman had one of those scanners that those who have the app can use and she said that they scanned at full price, but I went to a self-checkout and confirmed the discounted price, letting her know as well. And then, after also getting a large pack of toilet paper, I was checking the expiring products when I was surprised by the closing announcement, only then realizing the date and rushing to the self-checkout. Then I retrieved what I had in the cabinet, arranging a little before walking out and doing a better job once I was outside, so it was past 10:15 PM when I walked away. And I switched the metro at Dristor despite just missing one when I got there, not wanting to walk more than I had to at that point.
It was almost 11:05 PM when I got back again, with almost 18 kg. I then ate an apple pastry that I already had, drank a Pepsi Max, went to the bathroom at 12:10 AM, to use the toilet and wash, and got back in the kitchen at 1:35 AM. Then I put the purchases in their place and ate dinner between 3:25 AM and 4:05 AM.
I didn’t even manage to finish the part about April 8 before midnight, editing the post in order to add the last paragraph and finish the one before it a little later. And I really can’t afford to use yet another post for the events that are related to this matter, so I mean to edit this post yet again in order to add those as well. The original plan also included two days from July that I meant to add in full while I’m at it, but that’s impossible, so I added the following section gradually, making two edits Monday evening, one more in the early hours of Tuesday, before going to bed, yet another Wednesday evening, and the final one in the early hours of Thursday, before going to bed. And this, at 7795 words, or 7808 if you include the title, is now the longest post I ever wrote.
Since there had been no further reply, on the morning of April 11, before going to bed, I sent another message to the NGO, and after I got up I saw a reply saying that the transport firm said that they didn’t find anything. So I asked whether they could post something or ask the firm to somehow let me have a look in that bus as well, and they posted on the event, not on their page, saying that it was all they could do and that the firm tells them if they find anything and didn’t. So I sent another message, saying that I meant posting on their page and asking whether they could give the firm my contact information or whether it’d help if I’d talk to them directly, but I received no further reply that day.
I was a mess, just ate some walnuts, what little I could pick from another banana that was going bad and the two mini cakes that I still had, crawled back in bed in the evening, after that message and also sending dad an e-mail, and when I got back up I called him and cried on the phone. He was no help, of course, and he also said that he’ll call after the midnight news, which he had been working on at the time, but never did. However, despite thinking that I won’t be able to eat anything else, I forced myself to at least try to make mamaliga and add some fish brought by him in it, so it won’t spoil, and I managed to do that and even eat probably just under half of it, and after checking some more things on-line and moving what was left into a bowl, I ended up finishing scraping the pot at 3:50 AM. And I sent another message to the NGO before going to bed, to specifically ask for the transport firm’s contact information.
Since dad had said that he’ll once again bring something, I got up a little after he got back… And seeing that he had bought more egg dye from the brand that had a contest during that period but didn’t bring a receipt even though I had told him to do so, saying that he had purchased it from a stall from a market, also paying more as a result, was enough to make me have another breakdown when I was barely hanging on by a thread. So I was crying and desperate, but he just ignored me until I managed to stop crying for a while and sort of shuffled around, at which point we exchanged a few more words… Until I pretty much went catatonic, so I was just standing in the middle of the living room while he was on the computer and ate and did whatever else he was doing at the time, completely ignoring me even when he had to move past me, squeezing around each time. I have no idea how long that lasted, I just kept running various scenarios about the camera through my mind, only finally moving again after he went to bed. It was so hard, but I took it step by step, move by move, and even washed what he had used before getting back to my room… And the door handle snapped when I closed the door and it seemed loose and hanging low after that, but it still worked and everything seemed fine when I took it apart, that evening, so it’s still like that, but still works. But, to return to that morning, I also did the day’s squats at that point, since I hadn’t, and finally got back in bed at 8:35 AM. I was so scared to check my messages in the evening, after dad left for a while, but there was nothing at that point, yet when I checked again, later, I saw one asking me to call someone from the NGO the following day.
So I did, after getting back from the run, going to the toilet and writing the times, but on the first attempt it rang for a long time and eventually stopped, when I tried again the call was rejected rather quickly, and that also happened when I tried yet again, 20 minutes later, so I sent a message to say who I was and that I’ll try again the following day, if it was too late then, since it had been 6:20 PM when I made the first attempt. On the other hand, it was also on April 13 when I received a reply to the e-mail sent to the Subway Police, in case I had somehow taken the camera out on the metro and it was found by someone who didn’t just take it, but they just told me to call a certain number.
So I made those calls the following day, starting by trying to reach the person from the NGO once again, and once again being unable to. On the other hand, someone from the Subway Police did answer, and while he initially said that they only had documents there, not items of higher value, and the colleagues who’d know whether something like that was found were going to return to work after Easter, he nevertheless said that he was going to check what he could and call back in ten or 15 minutes. He only did so quite some time later, however, when I was almost at Park Lake, since I had gone out, and just to say that he couldn’t find anything like that, but that I should go to a certain place after Easter and ask there, since all such objects that are found are brought there.
And the person from the NGO also finally answered when I tried again, before leaving, and I was surprised when I realized that it was their program director, not the social media person that I assumed it was, since that message had only been signed with a first name and they have the same one. And she said that she wanted to tell me personally that buses tend to be a black hole for objects of value, and they never recovered anything of the sort in their 15 years of organizing such events. Other things, yes, and she even said that they had recovered a vest lost on that same bus that day, but when it comes to something like this, she’d be inclined to say that I should forget about it. Still, I asked for the transport company’s contact information, but she said that, while I could obviously try, it’s not really a company; they work with a woman who assigns buses from a common pool, so you pretty much have to deal with each individual driver, and that one said that he had looked thoroughly and supposedly didn’t find it. But I pressed, saying that I had found the name of the coordinator who had been on that bus by checking the pictures, and in one posted by her I saw the license plate of that bus, and she confirmed that it was the correct one, so I asked whether there was any way for me to have a look in it as well, just in case, and she said that they could try to arrange something like that, hanging up to look up the driver’s contact information and then sending me an SMS with the phone number and name, but telling me to let her call him first. However, when she called back she said that things were even murkier, since he had said that it wasn’t his bus and gave her another number, and nobody answered at that number, which made things even more suspicious.
On the other hand, what made me feel quite awkward was that she said that they also considered reimbursing me for the camera, since they realized that they had no disclaimer stating that they’re not responsible for lost items, so that was something that they had to fix before the next event. But losing it was my fault and I said so, and that it wouldn’t have much of a financial value at that point anyway, mentioning how much I had spent on it and how old it was, and that it’d have even less value for whoever took it, since they’d need a charger as well, which makes me think that it wouldn’t really be worth taking, especially since pretty much any smartphone takes better pictures now. And I added that it’s worth more for me and my parents, especially considering the pictures that are on the card, and that I could offer a reward, or trade the charger for the card if someone really wanted the camera. She really sounded like she felt bad about it and didn’t quite know what else to say, but didn’t think that there were any realistic chances of finding it, though she still said that she’ll wait to hear back from that guy and maybe we’ll be able to go and have a look. And she also told to not call that guy whose number she had given me right away… So I didn’t do that at all, waiting for more news, though there was nothing else that day.
In fact, nothing else happened until after Easter, unless you count the fact that I had another breakdown on Easter Monday. But I won’t write about that here, moving on to the next day, April 18, when I went to the Subway Police, reaching the Unirii 2 metro station at 1:45 PM, after jogging about half the way, since I had been told to get there by 2 PM. Actually, that guy had said both 2 PM and 3 PM during the conversation and I didn’t ask which it was, choosing the safer option, which proved to be the correct one. The problem was that I didn’t have much time in that case and couldn’t find that place while searching through the parts of the station that could be reached without a valid card, so I eventually asked the cashier and she told me where to go, opening a gate for me, since it’s actually past the gates and I said that I didn’t have a valid card. And when I got there I understood why I had been told to be there by 2 PM, because after saying that I was told to ask there about a missing object, saying that it was a camera, I was told to wait outside for a moment because they were just changing shifts. And, of course, when someone came out, she said that they didn’t have anything like that and took my name and phone number, in case it’ll somehow show up… Which obviously didn’t happen.
It was only on April 20 that I received the number of that second bus driver from the person from the NGO, after asking whether the lack of any news meant that she hadn’t heard back from him, which she confirmed. However, the following day, after getting back from the run and having lunch, I also tried to call him and, while nobody answered on the first two attempts, I tried one more time just before leaving again that evening and he did answer… But he said that he doesn’t drive the bus with that license plate and couldn’t understand why I’d have been given his number, since he has his own firm and the one who drove that bus works for another one, so perhaps there had been a misunderstanding and that other guy meant that someone else from that firm usually drives that bus, and he advised me to explain that to the people from the NGO and try to contact that firm, mentioning a name but not giving me any contact information. He probably knew it and if I’d have asked I’d have likely slashed what ended up being almost another month of waiting, but this was well outside of the scenario that I had prepared and even written down and I can’t exactly think when I’m talking to someone, so I only later realized that I should have asked… Especially since he seemed really nice, taking some time to explain the situation, which led to figuring out that he had driven the bus that I had arrived there on, so the one who picked us up after the first one broke down, and then said that he had been the first to leave that day, while I had left with the last one, and he told me a couple of things about each of the other buses that were used for that event, and also said that he takes pride in his work and such a loss would be a bad thing… And that someone had lost an object on his bus as well and they got it back after two or three days.
I already wrote about the breakdown I had on the evening of April 22, and there was another one on April 24, but I won’t write about it here, so I’ll move on to April 28, before the run, when I noticed that I had a reply from the other driver, the one whose contact information I had been initially given, after having decided to look him up on Facebook and send a message. But I only managed to get myself to read it at night, before going to bed, seeing that he said that he drives for the city bus company and didn’t drive other buses since 2017, so it must be a mistake, though he confirmed that his phone number was the one that I had been given.
So I sent another e-mail to the person from the NGO, asking whether the previous one, which she hadn’t replied to, had somehow gotten lost, telling her what that driver told me and asking who the coordinator from that bus actually talked to. And the following day sent I message to that coordinator as well, to ask for any information that she might have. She never replied, however, while the reply I received from the other person, which I again saw before a run, the one from April 30, but only read at night, before going to bed, said that the second number, the one of the driver whom I had also actually called, was what they received from the firm they worked with for the bus that I had been in, she thought that it was correct when she gave it to me and they can’t do more than that.
Even though she had confirmed the license plate on the phone, that reply made me even more convinced that they hadn’t even asked the correct driver, and in fact hadn’t even been trying to reach him, despite probably meaning to. Either that or somebody was lying to my face, of course, but I had been thinking that they had mixed up the buses ever since speaking with that other driver, or more exactly since he mentioned that object which had been lost and recovered from his bus. I’m not exactly sure, but I think that he even said that it was also a vest, which would be a strange coincidence. And, even though people obviously aren’t always on the same bus both ways, for some reason they only take the names of those who are on each bus on the way to the location, not also on the way back, so while she might have known which bus I was talking about, she had probably only been made aware of the situation when I kept pressing and it seemed likely that whoever had initially handled it just searched for my name on the lists and went from there, ignoring the fact that I had said that I had returned on the bus which had been the last to leave, and when they discussed the matter they somehow never realized that they were talking about different buses. I don’t know whether that’s the case and nobody ever confirmed it, but at that point it definitely seemed that way.
Since nothing else happened over the next few days, I ended up sending a message to the activist from the “old guard” who works for the other NGO whose tree planting events I attend, briefly explaining what happened and asking whether they could somehow track down the driver of that bus, in case they happen to work with the same firms, and she replied to say that she’ll ask her colleagues and get back to me. And, since I had tracked down the firm of the driver that I had talked to on the phone, before going out to walk the route of the half marathon, on May 5, I also sent him an e-mail, asking for any information he might have about the firm or the actual driver of that bus… And I have no idea whether it was just a strange coincidence or the result of one of these messages, since that driver never replied and the “old guard” activist didn’t say anything else, not even when I told her what I had received and thanked her and her colleagues in case they had anything to do with it, but minutes after sending that e-mail I received one from someone claiming to be from the firm who had organized the transport and when I could get myself to read it, the next day, I saw that it contained two screenshots of what was supposedly the talk with the driver of that bus. However, the names were hidden and the screenshots were from different apps, one containing the message sent by the NGO, which included my initial message, which they had forwarded, and a comment stating that it seemed that their firm’s bus had been the last to leave, and the other containing a message from someone who said that nothing was found on his bus and that the other drivers should also be asked. However, the previous message exchanged with this person, also contained in the screenshot, was from January, so I couldn’t see who he was or what he had been told, and in fact there was nothing to prove that the two screenshots were even connected.
So I replied to ask for the contact information, and saying what I had tried until then, what I had meant to do and that I had only received wrong information until then, so it seemed like the question hadn’t been sent to the right driver. And that caused me to be even more messed up, and a tiny bit of cabbage falling off the cutting board and onto the table at night was enough to make me stop working on the salad, whimper for a while and turn off the TV, since I just couldn’t deal with any sounds anymore. But at least I did finally receive the correct contact information the following day, which allowed me to also look up that driver on Facebook, the picture, taken right in front of that bus, immediately confirming that he really was the correct one.
My attempt to avoid calling by sending a message only resulted in a few more lost days, however, since he didn’t reply, so on May 10, after the run, I finally called as well… And the contrast between that conversation and the one with that other driver is why I said that things might have been different if I’d have been able to return on that same bus, assuming that I did actually lose the camera on the bus. I mean, he immediately sounded exasperated, saying that some 3000 pairs of hands had been through that bus since then, since it happened so long ago, and everyone contacts the drivers but they don’t know anything. He did say that, since the pandemic, the drivers also handle the cleaning and anything else, but that if he’d have found anything, he’d have left it at the garage. And he told me about someone who had apparently annoyed him by insisting to recover her child’s hat, and when I tried to press he said that I was like that woman, and asked whether I thought that he had taken the camera. I asked whether he had even been asked about it back then, but he said that he couldn’t remember. And he dismissed my attempts to say that someone might have found it and brought it to him, maybe even on another trip, in case it was missed at first, or that he might have been, or might yet be, contacted by someone who took it but then had a change of heart, maybe after seeing the pictures that were on the card. And when I asked him to at least save my contact information, in case it will somehow turn up or he’ll learn anything, he stressed that the chance of that happening is zero, and I could almost hear him gritting his teeth.
With the chance of him agreeing to let me have a look in the bus, just in case, also seeming to be zero, I didn’t even mention it, but I did send another e-mail to the person who had sent me his contact information, asking whether it could be arranged, and when she told me to discuss it with the driver I said that it didn’t seem like a good idea, considering how the call went, and asked for the contact information of the firm that owned the bus, being given the name and phone number of a person. So I also found her on Facebook and sent a message, and when I received no reply I used the information from her profile to search for the firm’s site and contact information, sending an e-mail on May 16. And I did receive a reply, on May 18, from that very same person, but she only said that she was very sorry but there was nothing she could do, and that she trusts the driver, because money or phones lost on his bus were returned, and if the camera was left on the seat then someone else from that group might have taken it, so I should also ask the person who sat next to me. So I sent another reply, on May 19, to say that I’d still like to have a look in that bus, even if a long time had passed and the chances were what they were, at least to try to figure out what I might have done with it, and that it likely wasn’t on the seat but either fallen or shoved somewhere, maybe between or behind the seat. But I didn’t receive any other reply and couldn’t get myself to try another contact method or even send another e-mail.
The last thing left to do was to put some signs in the building, in case I had actually left it on that bench, somebody from here took it and seeing a sign might somehow make them have a change of heart. I had initially asked dad whether he’d be fine with it and with including his phone number and the apartment number, and whether he’d print the text, and he agreed, but then he never mentioned it again, so on May 11, when I paid the maintenance bill, I also asked that guy whether I could do that and he said that he’d have no problem with it, but he also wouldn’t know anything about it and I should talk to two other people whom I didn’t know. I didn’t do that, and didn’t even tell dad to, but I did remind him of the sign, also sending him a file to print, if he agreed to have his phone number and the apartment number on it… Only for him to send back a different text, but still with those numbers, so at the time I told him to forget it, since I was only asking for his approval for that information, the text had to be mine. However, in the early hours of June 2, when he was away and I had to drop a bag of trash down the chute, since he had forgotten to take it before leaving, I printed the file, albeit with my phone number instead of his, and put a sign on the elevator door, on the ground floor, and another on the entrance, on the inside, though I had placed the sticky tape on the signs before walking out and hadn’t thought of the fact that they should be on different sides, so the one from the entrance required twisting the sticky tape around, which made it much easier to remove, but I didn’t want to come back and redo it. Either way, both were gone by the time I went out again, that evening, and I didn’t replace them, nor did I try anything else since then…