August 27, 2016
Maybe you remember back in May when I drowned my phone after it fell out the back pocket of my jeans in a bar, it being in my back pocket because I didn’t want to carry a purse and the front pockets were too short to fit my phone, because heaven forbid women’s clothing should be functional. Well, I didn’t remember that well enough, and put my camera in the front pocket of my jeans (it’s cool enough here now to wear jeans again) when we headed out to take our daily walk, which in this case included a chair lift ride up up the mountain to pick huckleberries. (Yes, I am back in Idaho for a while; my brother and I both needed a break from sorting out Mom’s house and affairs.) I snapped a few shots walking down to the village, and riding up the lift, and walking across the ridge (it’s very picturesque here, but even if it weren’t, I’m doing a photo a day project again this year, so usually have my camera with me). When we got onto the trail and started finding huckleberries, I stopped taking photos. As usual, we got up on the mountain late, so we were working against the clock, wanting to get back to the lift before it closed at five. When the time was getting close, I headed off the main trail up the backside of the hill, taking a more direct route to the ridge and picking a few more berries on the way. I got to the top of the ridge and reached for my camera and found it was gone. Crap. It must have been forced out of my pocket while I was bending and reaching for berries, and I didn’t notice because I was too focused on picking. Mr. K hadn’t followed me up that last stretch but came around on the main trail so I had a couple minutes to panic on my own. He found me, and I admitted my stupidity, and we decided we’d just have to come back and look tomorrow, what with the lift closing. We got on and while riding down saw a couple groups coming up, which was odd because it was one minute to five by that point. All the way home, I berated myself for being stupid and inattentive and too distracted by berries to keep track of my stuff (and I didn’t have that much stuff with me). We’d been home a few minutes when Mr. K figured out his watch was an hour fast; he’d never reset it from mountain time, which is where we were the last time he wore it. Crap. We could have spent an hour looking for the camera while our memory of where we’d been picking was still fresh. By the time we discovered this, it was too late to head back. (To be fair, even with the watch thing, we could have spent 20 minutes looking for the camera if I hadn’t forgotten my lift pass when we first headed out and had to come back to get it.)
I’ve spent probably too much time since then and now alternately beating myself up about losing the camera and trying to find peace about it, interspersed with Googling techniques for finding lost items and poking through Flickr and my laptop to see if I could find any photos I’d taken of the camera and speculating how this story might end. Maybe my little black Elph fell out of my pocket on the trail and someone found it in that last hour the lift was open yesterday and turned it in to lost and found and it’ll be waiting there for me this morning. If not, maybe we’ll get lucky when we go back up after the lift opens at 11 and find it ourselves in one of the many many similar looking patches of berries we were in yesterday and will try to backtrack through today. Maybe it’s gone forever.
If it is gone forever, it’s not the worst thing. As Mr. K said, compared to totaling the car, this is a small screw up. It’s not a new camera. I got it in 2012, cracked the screen falling on it at Disney World in 2013, dropped it in the snow next to my car in 2014 or thereabouts and didn’t realize it until an hour or so later, at which time I dug it out and it was fine, had it slip from my hand onto surfaces hard and not more times than I can recall, one of which caused a little sharp piece of metal to stick out of the top near the shutter release that I cut my finger on earlier this summer. So I got my use out of it. And I have a new camera at the ready, one I got for a service award at work, so I won’t have to buy a replacement. And I pulled photos off the camera just a few days ago, so if I don’t get it back, I won’t have lost many images (and I have cellphone photosâ€”not great ones, but still– from those days I can use for my photo a day project, though I already missed a day on that so why that matters to me I don’t know). The new camera is bulkier than the lost one, so that will take some getting used to (and a new camera case), but it’s good for my brain to have to adapt to new things anyway.
All that aside, I’m still upset. Some about not having that exact physical object in my life anymore, but mostly about my carelessness. I should have known better. I should have done better. I do this kind of crap too often. On the drive back from Illinois, I lost the cover to an umbrella of mom’s I brought back with me as a way to have a part of her with me. It’s just an umbrella cover, sure, and better to have the umbrella and not the cover rather than the reverse, but I should have been able to keep track of it. I stuffed that in my pocket, too, so maybe it fell out as well. Maybe I just need to always carry a purse. Not that I’ve never left my purse somewhere, though. I feel like I suck, like this year is out to teach me some lesson that I’m not learning so I keep breaking and losing stuff (phone, car, glasses, umbrella cover, now the camera, just that I can think of off the top of my head). Am I being punished for something by some universal force? Am I losing my ability to navigate the world as well as I used to? I don’t know. I do know I don’t like it.
UPDATE 29-Aug-2016: No camera. It belongs to the mountain now; I’m considering it a tribute extracted in return for all the huckleberries we’ve been picking this year. I’m hoping the mountain gave it to someone who will use it, that it’s not just hidden under a huckleberry bush or in some bear grass, getting wet and ruined.