Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Musings on life (and loss)

Last Sunday my family and I set out to visit my parents. I packed a small suitcase with the clothes needed for a two-night-stay, and a few items to keep me busy during the several-hours-train-ride.
This blue suitcase had been with me since a trip to Vancouver many years ago when my friend Maike got married and my carry-on bag gave out just as I was arriving at the airport. It had been to places, but it was still in pretty good condition and the perfect size for shorter trips like this. This little suitcase was not one that I particularly cared about, it was just a practical suitcase. But it was stolen on this trip, straight away from the streetcar, without either of us three travelers noticing anything.
The monetary value of the items in there is not really high, as most of the items were used, every-day items, and some had been with me for several years, too. The only items that I could put a price on pretty exactly must have been the new curcular knitting needle which I had bought just last Saturday for a knitting project (€ 5,75) and a brandnew Spanish dictionary (€ 29,95) which I bought a couple of weeks ago. But in the suitcase was a wooden backgammon set which I really liked, made of cedar wood, with a very nice smell when you open it. (I love playing backgammon, and much prefer ‘real’ encounters with real people compared to games on the smartphone, where the phone always has the double throws and games never seem fair.) And a couple of balls of not exactly cheap woolen yarn for that knitting project. Three different charging devices for the various electronic pieces of equipment one carries these days. All of the electronic devices themselves were in my backpack, they were not lost. (My computer, whit LOTS of photos, all my writings etc., the phone, the camera.) And a hand-bound book made by a friend who is very ill, and which I had been using as a diary since January. Not a whole lot of monetary value, but if you compile the cost of re-aqcuisition, it adds up, too. And the emotional value is not to be measured in any way, either, even if it seems stupid to grieve for a little set of backgammon.
The police officer whom I talked to when I went to the police said I should be grateful that all my documents were with me, no money stolen. Be grateful when you had things stolen from you? Somehow this seems a strange way of thinking.
Nothing in there is of any value for the thieves. They will throw everything away. And I would have liked to use these items for many years to come. What a waste. What a stupid way to hurt people. What a superfluous experience to have to go to.

But then – is it worth grieving for these little items, as dear as they might have been? Life is strange.


  1. ugh, how awful for you! such a feeling of violation, too, I'm sure. I wonder if you backtracked if you would find some of your things in a nearby dumpster. But dumpster diving is horrible in itself, I'm sure. I hope your family visit helped to alleviate some of the angst you surely suffered.

    1. Jodi, we did backtrack, but I did not do any dumpster diving. I have replaced the computer cord and the phone charger, am waiting for the camera charger, and everything else will just be lost. Teaches one to not be too attached to material items!

  2. I am sorry for your things having been stolen. Yes, it is alright to grieve. In many ways they have intruded into your personal life, so it is a violation of what is special to you. and also that you are powerless to do anything.
    and as I type this, I think Wow...just a small example of the experience of what your refugees are still being overwhelmed by.

    1. Sandy, I completely agree with you about the refugees's losses. Mine are pitifully small against that. And I still have my family with me. So I really shouldn't be lamenting, and except for that feeling of personal violation I think I have by now let the items go. There are other sets of backgammon in the world that fulfill the function just as well!

  3. It's never a nice feeling to have this happen. Fortunately things can be replaced although your diary would not be one of them.

  4. So unexpected, this sort of loss ... the realisation of it catches you unawares and throws you off balance. I too had a diary stolen - it was in a bag that was snatched - and still regret it, which is silly, as I have so many other diaries from that time, more than 20 years ago, that I never look at now!
    All the "things" we have, have so many memories contained in them; they each have their stories...