Monday, February 12, 2018

Some Days are Stones

Do you know the John Denver song "Some Days are Diamonds"? It's a lesser-known, mid-career single, but I always think of it when I have a bad day. The refrain is:

Some days are diamonds, some days are stones
Sometimes the hard times won't leave me alone
Sometimes the cold wind blows a chill in my bones
Some days are diamonds, some days are stones

Yesterday was a stone.

The day began innocently enough. I worked in the garden, trimming the rambling roses and blackberry vines and tying them back to the fence so the bulbs and other plants below would get more light. I vacuumed the house. I did laundry and some other small tasks.

I'd thought about taking on another segment of the LOOP, but the next stretch is 10 miles, and my back has been bothering me so much lately that I didn't think I could (or should) walk that far. Instead I decided to take the dog to the Heath. She stayed inside almost all day Saturday so she needed to get out.

On the way there, we passed a couple sitting on a bench, their black spaniel at their feet. As we walked by, I heard the woman say to the dog: "Yeah, you didn't bark at that one, did you? You're not stupid."

It's so funny how everyone thinks Olga is fierce.

Anyway, I ran into a friend from work, and then passed Ricky Gervais on the sidewalk. It was definitely him. I am not making this up. I texted Dave to tell him the news, and then slipped my phone into my jacket pocket.

So far so good, right? Olga and I circumnavigated the Heath, and of course she got incredibly muddy because the Heath, like everywhere else in England at this time of year, is a mud bog. We were just about to leave when I put my hand in my pocket and realized my phone was no longer there.

Oh shit.

I debated what to do. I had walked miles, my back was killing me, and I thought the odds were slim that my phone would have lain undiscovered somewhere on the Heath all that time -- more than an hour had elapsed since I last used it and I had no idea where I'd dropped it. I stopped some passersby and used their phone to call mine -- but it went straight to voice mail.

And then, to add insult to injury, I slipped in the mud and wound up sprawled on my back, covered with sticky brown clay. The people I'd borrowed the phone from were still standing nearby to witness this spectacle. "It's going to be one of those days," I said to them as I gingerly picked my soggy self off the ground.

I decided to simply go home. But halfway there, I had a change of heart because I thought I figured out where I'd dropped the phone -- in a field, off a path, when I knelt down to take the picture above. I was on all fours, and I could easily imagine my phone slipping from my jacket at that moment. Because it wasn't a heavily traveled path I thought there was a chance the phone would still be in the grass.

So we went back to the Heath. (Olga was very confused.) I walked half my route again, revisited the field, and found nothing.

I was resigned to buying another phone.

This was the day's consolation prize -- some cool pottery shards for my collection.

Back home, I bathed the dog, changed my clothes, took some aspirin and called my phone on Skype. And lo and behold, a man answered. Turns out he was a police officer -- someone had handed in my phone at the Golders Green police station. He said I could come and pick it up right away. I hopped a bus and had my phone back within half an hour, having conveyed my thanks (via the police) to the person who turned it in.

(Turns out I didn't drop it in that field after all. It was found in a completely different spot, called Springett's Wood. Who knows how I lost it. Note to self: NEVER put phone in jacket pocket!)

I seriously think this happy ending was karmic payback for turning in that bag of passports and credit cards I found last fall.

And just like that, the stone became a diamond!


  1. Very fortunate and I'm glad to know there are still honest folk amongst us. Would a massage help your back?

  2. Hurrah! You know how some wearers of spectacles keep them on chains round their necks? It is also possible to do this with mobile phones. Given yesterday's close shave, I think you should seriously consider the chain option. Three cheers for the person who handed in your phone. Is it possible for you to send them a "thank you" card - perhaps accompanied by a tenner?

  3. It was good and then it was okay and then it was bad and then it got worse and was good!
    I like this story, Steve.
    I believe it may be time for you to go to the chiropractor.
    I'm so glad you got your phone back.

  4. The end of your day certainly ended on a high. It's not fun slipping and landing on your back but it made a good story.

  5. I love a story with a happy ending like this. So good to know there are kind people in the world who do the right thing. Sure hope your back starts to feel better soon.

  6. I love a story with a happy ending. I can't even imagine the sinking feeling I'd get if I lot my phone. And, when I think about it long enough, I wonder how I survived all those years without one.
    Olga really did get muddy!

  7. I have a theory I call The S__thammer. When things are going well for awhile, that hammer is just coiling up, then it comes down on you with a crash. But after that it takes awhile for it to coil up again so you're in for some good times. Sounds like that's what your day was like.

  8. This is the best story to wake up to this very cold morning! All is well! Olga is so smiley , not sure how anyone could mistake her fro anything other than playful- but that is OK. Olga is not very interested in playing with other dogs anyway, she is a people.

  9. We needed a spoiler alert when you posted that last photo of Olga which telegraphed that all must have turned out well! Even so, I glad for you that it did.

  10. I hate that feeling when you've lost something important (like the other week when I left my wallet at home). So glad a good samaritan turned it in!

  11. I think of that song often when I'm having a bad day! (Why don't we think of it when we're having a good day? ha ha) I'm so glad your phone was eventually returned to you. I was so upset when I lost my small purse three times IN A ROW last year, so I get it.

    How I love that picture of Olga. And Linda Sue's comment that "she is a people" - Olga is certainly a lovely girl.

  12. Oh lucky you! And now for that back pain . . . universe, are you listening?

  13. All's well that ends well.
    Love the photos of Olga. It could be she is eyeing off that girl and thinking she might dash over and nip her on the ankle... or maybe not. And the bridge in the background is in a lovely light. As for the other photo of Olga, my first thought was 'here's mud in your eye."
    I'm frantically trying to catch up on reading your blog but thought I would skip to today and comment.


  14. Oh, such a close cal! Back pain is the worst.