Some stories just beg telling and this is one of them.
I knew there would be trouble the minute I laid eyes on the gold lame’ lunch bag my husband plopped on the counter in front of me. My old one, an industrial blue hardware store model, had drowned the day before in a bath of chicken noodle soup. I’d ask my husband to grab me a new one while he was out.
“I can’t use this bag!” I blurted, forgetting to be grateful that he’d gone to the trouble. “It’s got trouble written all over it. I’ll be laughed out of the lunchroom.”
I was right, too. As soon as set my lunch on the long plywood table and pulled up a plastic chair, the comments erupted:
“Wow, look at Miss Fancypants over there!”
“You think you were going to a fancy diner, or something?”
“What’s with all the sparkles? You’re blinding us.”
It was humiliating.
It was also a Friday, thank goodness. I tossed that baby in the back seat with the conviction that it would be replaced before Monday morning came around. I wasn’t repeating that scenario again. Tough enough that I was only an occasional worker; I didn’t need to draw further judgement to myself.
As I did on many Fridays, I put work behind me and headed east to visit my daughter and son-in-law in Toronto. They lived in an area of town called “The Beaches” – aptly named as it was located on the waterfront – noted for its restaurants and boutiques. I loved to spend time with the kids exploring their neighbourhood.
Typical of most Toronto neighbourhoods, parking was limited, so I usually opted for an overnight lot nearby. It was well-lit for security purposes, but did require a top up of the meter at 7 am, a task my son-in-law was happy to fulfill as he’d be walking the dog anyway.
I knew there was something wrong when I heard him returning to the apartment shortly after having left.
“Uhm…your car has been broken into.” I could tell he was uncomfortable relaying the news. “The thief broke your rear window.”
“The lunchbox!” I had left it on the backseat.
I left a message with the police and soon had a call back.
“I have a case of lunch bag letdown for you,” I told the officer, going on to explain my predicament.
“It happens often,” he consoled. “We never recommend leaving a purse or anything of value in sight, whether the car is locked or not.”
“Well, there was used Tupperware inside. Hope the culprit wasn’t too disappointed.”
My son-in-law held up the object in question. “Found it nearby!”
“What did I tell you about that lunchbox!” I said, breaking the news to my husband.
I was right. Darn thing ended up costing us close to $300.
Monday, I took my lunch in a brown paper bag.
Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.