Lost in Grand Central Station
I lost something precious in Grand Central Station yesterday. Let’s just say if you’ve read “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain (a stellar book I might add) you’ll remember the train incident. Let's just say I became both Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway.
Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the loss until I got home. After searching everything -- including the trash -- I began calling all the places I might have left my life, and by that I mean my work.
First I called Hudson News where I had bought a magazine and water. The salesperson said she didn't find or see anything. I called back again asking her to look again. Then I called again. I think I called five times in four minutes.
Second on the list was the cab. However, I couldn’t remember which yellow cab I took from my meeting to the station, so that was pretty much a cold trail.
Well I knew Grand Central is supposed to have a Lost and Found. From what I’ve heard it’s like the doors in the Grimm Fairy Tales that one is never, ever supposed to open lest they be willing to confront evil. Am I exaggerating? Considering the woman who answered the phone when I called definitely didn’t have the sympathy gene.
Even before I got a human on the line the Lost and Found seemed to take pleasure in my pain. The voice prompts on the phone didn’t work and I kept getting the hours of operation. Finally, I reached a voice.
The Lost and Found person took my name and took down a description of said item. At least she said she was taking down a description. Then she asked where I think I lost it. What I wanted to say was: “I lost it when I realized all the work I’ve done for the past two years is now somewhere in the station, maybe even being held hostage by the Hudson News crew.” What I said was: “I think I lost it in the station somewhere, maybe on the train.”
So the voice, which had all the emotion of a wall, told me if they found anything I’d be contacted within two to three business days. Then she recited the Lost and Found hours. I am pretty sure she snickered as she hung up on me.
Finally, as a last resort I called the sock shop where I had purchased a birthday present for my daughter. Now, let me tell you I was certain I had not left my work in this little store, but rather in Hudson News. In my mind's eye, I saw myself putting the work on the counter as I paid for my magazine. So much for being your own eyewitness!
So I was floored when the salesperson said she remembered the package and me. I was doubly floored when she said she would drop it in the mail to me, no problem. She told me her dad works with books and so she could relate. I think I called her back three times to thank her.
So yes, MTA riders there are guardian angels in Grand Central Station.
What to do if, during a leisurely Sunday bike ride, a rider should somehow hit a pothole that seems to be a scaled down version of the Barringer Crater.
Simple, click on www.ctbikemap.org/issue.html. The Connecticut Department of Transportation hosts the site. The site allows for reporting of crashes that don’t involve motor vehicles.
“We have had a 'Contact Us' section of our website for at least eight years, probably longer,” said Kevin Nursick, ConnDOT spokesman. “We receive a wide array of comments through our website, including some specifically related to bike and pedestrian issues. If you check out the page, you’ll see there is a drop-down list of options and we’ve set up a special category for bikes and pedestrians.”
According to the website, about half of all bicycle crashes are falls. After the kind of temperamental weather New England gets, that’s no surprise. Additionally, the site and the League of American Bicyclists report that storm grates, loose dirt or gravel and near misses with other moving objects (including pedestrians) cause falls. The site is designed to help ConnDOT fix the problems that caused the falls. (How exactly they can help fix a near miss with a pedestrian is not clear.)
Nursick said the site is designed to let users offer suggestions on how to improve and mitigate the problems.
“My educated estimate would be that we receive three or four comments related to bikes and pedestrians every month on average,” Nursick said.
Another source for Fairfield County riders who venture across county lines is www.seeclickfix.com/hartford. This site should appeal to the citizen reporter. Users can upload photos of whatever asphalt abyss menaced them on their ride. That’s, of course, if the rider is unscathed enough to do so.