Writing 101: Serially Found (Serially Lost, Part 2…)

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something.

Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.


On September 18th I wrote a post “Serially Lost, Part 1” which described how I lost my car registration, driver’s licence and French resident’s card in the summer of 2012. After I declared my driver’s license lost and went to apply for a new one, I was told my documents had been found but it was too late because I had already declared them missing. The lady behind the Plexiglas advised me not to declare documents missing right away as they are sometimes found.

Fast forward to early August of this year when I was leaving for a weekend trip to Frankfurt, Germany. I had my passport and my wallet (containing my resident’s card, driver’s license, credit card and state medical insurance card) in my front right-hand pants pocket. I took a commuter train into Paris, changed to a metro line and then to the commuter train to the Roissy airport. I remember putting my hand on the pocket as I got to the metro line and the passport and wallet were still there.

As the commuter train was nearing Roissy airport I put my hand on my pocket and… it was empty. My eyes scanned the floor around me. Could it have fallen out of my pocket when I sat down? I saw nothing on the floor and the stress began kicking in as my mind was racing at a dangerously high speed. It hadn’t moved from my pocket at all when I sat on the first commuter train and I only sat a short time in the metro and just at the end of the train ride to the airport.

Someone must have picked my pocket. Whoever did it was extremely talented, in an evil way, because I never felt anything if my pocket had been picked. But what could I do? I couldn’t get my flight without a passport. There was nothing to do but get on the next train back to Paris and go home. Oh, my return ticket for the train was in my wallet…

My mind was still spinning and emotions were bobbing and boiling; anger, frustration, depression. I started getting a grip on myself. What happened had happened. I needed to just get on with life and take things one step at a time. First step: I phoned the Mrs. and asked her to cancel the credit card. But this time I would not start the process of declaring anything lost. I would wait and see if any of my documents were found.

On Monday I phoned the Paris police and the train station to ask if any documents had been found, only to hear a negative response. I went on internet and googled lost documents in Paris. The Paris police have a web site where one can list lost or stolen items. I made a list of my documents and prayed something would come of this. I phoned back on Wednesday and got the same negative response.

By this time my wife was starting to ask me every day, “When are you going to declare your documents missing at the police station?” “Not yet,” I would reply as she gave me the look that said, ‘Just go ahead and do it.’

Still no news on Thursday and still the same question from the Mrs. Fortunately I had very few English classes in August and didn’t need to drive much. If this had happened at another time of the year maybe I would have had to start the process for a new driver’s license.

On Friday I went out to the mail box and got the mail. Lo and behold! What did I see??? A letter from the Police of Paris! I opened it and found a letter which stated, “Dear Mr. Perry, we believe we have some documents that belong to you, a passport, a driver’s license and a resident’s card. Please come to our offices…etc.”

I was happier than a pig in mud. I was almost dancing as I went up into the kitchen and started waving the letter and saying, “Who’s the penguin? Who’s the penguin?” (You have to look at the video below to know who the penguin is and appreciate the joy I felt.)

The funny thing is that I received an email from the Paris police the following Monday. How they managed to send me a letter that arrived on Friday and their email only reached me the following Monday is one of the great mysteries of the universe.



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