I am a terrible traveller. I’m an introvert and a nester, and I like my house. I get very stressed out in foreign environments where I don’t have control over every little thing.
I once had a minor meltdown in Mexico – at an all-inclusive resort where you are completely protected from the actual local culture, of course – when I discovered that the light switches worked sideways, instead of up and down.
I once had a crying fit in Cuba – at an all-inclusive resort, of course – when I did not understand that the guy reaching for my luggage was a hotel employee, not a thief, and then after I yelled at him, he didn’t want to help us with our luggage anymore, and now how were we going to find our room without help, and WOE WOE WOE??? FameThrowa had to dig me out of that hole.
My first year out of university, for my first full time job ever, I had to take a business trip. I was a developer and travel was in no way part of my job description. However, a company in England that used my product was having repeated crashes and no one could figure out why, and we couldn’t duplicate the problem on our local setup. It was a very important client so the company decided to send someone to debug it on site.
Someone being me.
This was just a week or so before Christmas and I FREAKED OUT. The very idea of going to a cold, damp, dark country just before the holidays was horrifying. I can’t even imagine how awful it would have been had it been, say, a country where people don’t speak English. Or there are no McDonalds (where I ate 95% of my meals). I was very young, it was the first time I had ever been outside Canada, and I was UP! SET!
So one night after I’d been working all day, some of the guys I was working with decided to take me out to a restaurant, because they knew I was having a miserable time and they wanted to cheer me up. After eating, just before I got up to leave, I went to use the bathroom. There was a little hook in the stall and I hung my winter coat and hat on the hook.
When I left the bathroom, I accidentally left my hat behind.
Now this hat was an important hat. My mother had made it for me, by hand, just a month or so earlier. It was a black and white tweed, with little flecks of red and green in it. It was lined in black with a strip of red ribbon around the inside edge where the hat met the brim – like a secret little hint of “I love you” from my Mommy.
And when you’re lonely and distressed in a foreign country near Christmas, having a comfort item from your Mommy is important.
Once we were outside the restaurant I realized what had happened, but by the time I went back, it was gone. I looked everywhere and asked the staff, but no one had seen anything. It was gone.
WHO STEALS A HAT? Have those idiots no fear of lice? Their mommas did not raise them right. HOOLIGANS.
I called the restaurant at least twice a day for the rest of the time I was there, and nothing. I called Sir Monkeypants as soon as I got home that night, in tears, and the poor guy did his best to comfort me from across an ocean about the horror of a lost hat. Because he is very nice that way, and he didn’t even mock me about it until I was safely back on Canadian soil.
But seriously, who steals a hat? Idiots. I still tear up when I think about it.
So last night, the girls had their first swimming lesson of the winter, and we had some scheduling difficulty that caused dinner to not get made on time. After swim class we went out to Wendy’s for dinner.
Then when we got up to go, MY HAT WAS GONE.
Now, I really loved this hat, too. It was a Canada Olympic hat from the last winter Olympics. You’ve probably seen them around – it’s white with red maple leaves on it, and red tassles and ear flaps. It was my go-to hat for winter, my signature hat. My little bit of warmth in a brutal, cold country.
It was definitely there at the start of the meal.
Not there at the end of the meal.
I searched everywhere in the restaurant, under all the tables, everyone looking at me like a freak. The staff had seen nothing, no one had turned it in. It was gone.
I was forced to go home HATLESS.
IN MY OWN COUNTRY.
The hooligans are invading! It’s time to hoard spam, load up on bottled water, build that bomb shelter in the basement!
And above all, hold on to your hats.