Got my camera stolen the other day in Hong Kong, New Territories.
When I say stolen, I mean I left it on a bench, and then when I came back about 20 seconds later, it was gone.
And when I say 20 seconds, I mean about 5 minutes.
The notable detail about this situation was my lack of emotion toward it. I really didn’t care deep down, nearly as much as I care about how many umbrellas people use when walking side by side in the streets, or the inconsistent line that walking pedestrians seem to insist on following, causing me to weave and dodge unnecessarily. These things really, really irk me.
This happens whenever I lose things, really. And it happens more often than it really ought to, I’m just that vacant minded. Once I left my wallet on an ATM machine in a bank to go upstairs when some bank person called me personally. Distracted, I went up half a flight, remembered it was still there, ran down to get it and, tadaa! Gone. They saw the guy on tape but that’s about the last I heard of it.
That wallet had my bank cards, my collection of notes from around the world, about $70 and various other things, including my drivers license (the one where you can’t drive but it can be used for ID) and my residence card, which is needed to leave the country, which I was going to try and do the next day.
And again, very little emotion about it. What happened inside my head? A series of immediately logical possible outcomes, solutions, Worst-cases, justifying the fact that it was stolen, and that it doesn’t really matter because, honestly, it was old and needed replacing anyway, or it was only $70, A mere 3 hours of work, and how to explain to friends without coming across as an absolute fucking moron. People who happen to be with me, or people who I share the misfortune with are often surprised about how nonchalant I can be about it. I mean, the camera was over $250.
But really, the things I get annoyed about are fundamentally different from the ones I *should* get annoyed about. When I lose something, or when I’m late to leave my apartment for falling asleep or whatever, it’s MY fault, MY mistake, MY stupidity and lack of responsibility. I lost that camera because I was too busy trying to avoid rain and I was too stupid to realise putting it on the bench in the first place rather than my pocket was a bad idea.
When it comes to OTHER people or other factors in life that do no live up to standards to make my life run as smoothly as I expect, THAT annoys me. For example, the traffic lights in Vietnam are set up in a way that, if you are caught on a red light, you can be damn sure that the next 15 will be on Red when you arrive, too. They have it timed perfectly. I honestly remember counting 13 straight red lights until I took an unpredictable road and the alignment was altered. This is just a flawed design.
Late trains, Phones that run out of battery too quickly, or turn of in the middle of the night for no reason, causing my alarm to not happen, making me late. No free wifi in a hyper modern city, or no easy access to toilets in what you’d think would be a toilet-necessary environment.
It just really grates my groin when stuff that should work, doesn’t. When I only have myself to blame, getting angry seems a bit meaningless, and I have to just take logical steps to improve and make sure it doesn’t happen the next time.
So here is the process, as close to how I remember it, from the moment I realised I lost my camera:
– Walking back, tributaries of hopeful thoughts and pessimism on best-worse case scenarios, along with logging the possible losses (A life without a camera, the 20 or so photos I had on there, a couple with my own face involved etc).
– Noting somebody who was currently smiling with a hand placing a mystery object into their own bag, which says ‘I.T. Sale’. Yeah, I bet. Buy NON get ONE free, eh? I know your type, man. That glee in your eye stinks of guilt.
– Realising upon arrival that it is definitely gone, I shrug it off, state the annoyance of it all, look around like someone might run up to me and return it, and then walking off dejectedly.
– Then comes the stage where I have to plan my life without it. Do I buy a phone with an extra good camera so I no longer need one? If I buy another camera, I’d have to get one better, which would mean at least $400. Can I afford that? What would I have to do to make that less of a pain. I will have to take up a second job or a few hours of work outside of work to catch up on the loss. I’m couchsurfing so I’ve technically saved more than that just by living for free on holiday rather than the huge hotel prices.
But the idea was to save money, not to break even comparative to hotel expenditure.
– Then there are the stories that I shared and the friend I was with shared to make it seem less of a blow compared, the shrugging of the shoulders, with a slight financial calculation going on in the background.
– Then it sort of faded off, changed subject and other than a few moments where I appear in a place or see a sight that I would usually snap old snappy out to immortalise, realise that this action is no longer a part of me and then slunk off, I was pretty much over it.
Maybe if I panicked a bit more each time, I would learn to stop losing my stuff and save thousands of dollars a year.