‘He Stared at the Screen, and Then His Shoulders Slumped’

Sympathetic words in an elevator, a sign from above and more reader tales of New York City in this week’s Metropolitan Diary.

Comments: 107

  1. Surely someone who finds something valuable, like a gemstone ring, should report the find to the nearest police station? The police would be the clearinghouse for any chance to connect to the legitimate owner. That's what any of us would want should we, ourselves, lose something important or treasured.

  2. @Georgina This entry was proof positive, as if needed, that not everyone would properly report a lost item. Sigh. Why was this even selected for publishing?

  3. @WF Maybe it's a sign that we need to be skeptical about gifts from the sky.

  4. @WF I’m glad it was selected. NYC is amazing, as evidenced by the “Diary”, but it’s refreshing to read about what most would consider an immoral act. Aside from that controversy, the story also serves as a fascinating window into the author’s quickly changing views on their fortune. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Giving a shout out to the illustrator, Agnes Lee. Perfect illustrations for these vignettes.

  6. Dear Metropolitan Diary, I would like to recommend that The New York Times extends the comments to beyond the Tuesday. Some people, like me, like or prefer to reflect on the diary entries and/or the comments before responding. Other than that, this wonderful column is a jewel among jewels in The New York Times. Stammi bene, Anne from Rome...

  7. @anne Dear Anne, I am wondering if the tradition of August vacations often extending past Labor Day for people in the publishing world influenced the shortened comment period recently imposed. It certainly would be nice, as you write, to have a day or two to reflect on these "small" tales of life in the Big City. NYT Editor, please note: I wrote "small" tales in parens because apparently these little stories of daily life carry so much meaning for those reading and those writing comments. In addition, I've noticed that some of the comments contain true "oral history" gems of fascinating information about important artists, historians, writers, singers, actors, etc., of previous generations that might otherwise have been lost to history. By maintaining a 5-day open comment period, we allow these important moments from the past to be recorded for all time. Best wishes, Elissa

  8. @els - The Labor Day reference reminded me of Edmonds and Curley's routine about their being twins in the womb about to be born, and it's sweet yet perfect punch line of the twins wishing their Mom happy Labor Day.

  9. @Freddie Hi Freddie, Thanks for starting this kind of gloomy-looking week with a laugh!! Actually, your ref of the Edmonds and Curley "twins in the womb routine" (hilarious) shores up my point--I'd never heard of Edmonds or Curley, reasonably contemporary comedians, until this morning, reading what you wrote in the Metropolitan Diary. Similarly, one of my sons had never heard of the fabulous Nicholas Brothers until he read a reader response to a column in an LA newspaper. So we are all the guardians of our collective culture, it seems. Best, Elissa ps: Freddie, boy did you ever get the bargain of the century seeing Ethel Merman for $2.80 a ticket; we never got those tickets for the City Center reprisal of Evita because my husband *declined* to pay $446+26 "handling" for 2 not-great seats, rear/side.

  10. Dear Metropolitan Diary authors, Is there a common theme in today’s 5 Diary entries? Maybe. Or maybe not. One possibility is that old saying: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” First, “a large man, adorned with rings and chains,” (a scary guy?) was just a normal man playing a game on his phone. Second, “a guy wearing a winter cap and an ornery grin” was just a normal guy getting on the train. Or was he? Or did he end up being ornery? We’ll never know unless Katie Perkowski writes a follow-up Diary entry. Third, just because it’s the “Bitter End” doesn’t mean that it’s the one and only bitter end. Fourth, even a fake diamond ring can bring a feeling of euphoria for a while. An “omen of abundance” became a “bad sign.” Fifth, old men on canes can still smile and act like kids. P.S.: This might be my last post for a while. My wife and I will be visiting family in Colorado until mid-October. I’ll have my iPhone, but the Internet connection is not always reliable in the mountains. Best wishes, Dean from CT Sept. 15, 2019

  11. @Dean Dean, How perfectly worded!! I especially liked your philosophical evaluations of vignettes #3 and #4. Somehow, they seem suitable in today's political climate. Happy mountaineering, Elissa

  12. Have a great trip, Dean! You fans (and friends) will be missing you.

  13. tune of "Jean" (in tribute to Downton Abbey, the Maggie Smith theme from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) Dean, Dean The weeks that you're gone You know you'll be missed from this scene. If they're true family They'll let you use their P.C. Check in once or twice. Won't you, Dean?

  14. The diamond story proves that superstitions don't make people better.

  15. @Imagine And a lady is still crying.

  16. i have been crippled for 32+ years, use a cane, and have always acknowledged fellow not-so-fleet people by asking if they want to race. they never do! but for a moment they realize that they are being seen as a whole person and not a compromise.

  17. Disturbing diamond story. Why? Usually Metropolitan Diary entries of this sort show New Yorkers “doing the right thing.” What’s curious to me is not necessarily that this was published, but, geez, what was the writer thinking when she submitted this piece? Hmmm... guess I’ll show myself in the worst possible light? Look, I’m human - maybe it would have crossed my mind to hock it, though I’d like to think I would have exhausted my brain trying to figure out how I could find the owner. If not, I’d never, ever, ever, tell a soul, let alone readers of a major newspaper.

  18. @Citygirl I wouldn't share this either, but maybe Maria was using Metropolitan Diary as a kind of confessional booth.

  19. I was most appalled that after hearing her diamond appraiser friend’s brother has just heard he had cancer, she turned back to her self-involved whine about whether or not finding a piece of junk was a bad omen for her. I’d thought it could turn into a story about how trivial a diamond could be, compared to the pain of a friend. The emotional selfishness exhibited in the story is kind of shocking.

  20. @Millie I didn't perceive any contrition, which is part of confession. Did I miss it?

  21. Sorry to tell you, but it's already a bad sign when you decided to keep the "diamond" ring.

  22. @yl I thought the way the mom tried to change her daughter’s mind was lovely. Too bad it didn’t work.

  23. @yl As others have pointed out, perhaps finding the ring was a test, not a sign. Had Maria listened to her mother and taken the ring to the nearest police station, she would have felt good about herself for having done the right thing. But alas, no...

  24. @Nancy: And it goes to show that just because someone has a good, honest mother, it doesn't mean that they will inherit those qualities or obtain them through osmosis.

  25. Condolences appear to have been wasted. I don’t think everyone keeps the goods found, doesn’t matter if it’s a diamond ring or not. Obviously the best thing is to handover the same in the nearest Police Station. Why do senior citizens race even if it meant speed walking it’s no good for them. Happy hour is good to read.

  26. @Sivaram Pochiraju Senior citizens race because they want to.

  27. Mr.Trowbridge,thank you,I laughed out loud!

  28. I enjoyed these snippets of live so very much and delighted in the happiness received from them!!! I needed a break from the daily news and the daily tweeter. Please continue with these treats!

  29. Dear Lord, Please one day let me find out the continuation (if there was a continuation) of the "After Happy Hour" tale by Katie Perkowski in today's Metropolitan Diary. I *need* to know what happened next! Thank you, me

  30. They married, though years later. On the N.

  31. Reasonable man and anonymous - you may be a match too :-)

  32. @Anonymous They went out, and eventually proposed marriage. She lost a "practice ring" while having her real ring resized. No matter. They got married and has lived happily ever since.

  33. I have a friend who worked over by Bryant Park and lost a diamond earring that had been given to her (as a pair) only a couple of day prior by her then boyfriend, soon to be fiancé. She was devastated when she discovered the loss that evening. The very next day on her walk to work, she found the earring in the street gutter, where she lost it! She took THAT as a sign, and rightfully so. They engaged, married, had a child, and have been happily together for over 15 years.

  34. @Fromjersey, the first gift my now husband gave me was a pair of garnet studs (he was nowhere near affluent enough for diamonds, and even the garnets were a stretch). I have lost and found those earrings dozens of times over the decades. They refuse to stay lost. We are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in a few months. I will wear the earrings.

  35. @Passion for Peaches Oh, that is just lovely. Wishing you a very Happy 30th Anniversary:)

  36. @Passion for Peaches Almost exactly the first gift I scraped together the money to give my future bride. But with very tiny pearls in my case. They were for a late-January birthday present. She was a little shocked. Our romance had barely begun, igniting at the end of a long New Year’s Eve party. Either the gift was some kind of joke, or I was serious about her. Meanwhile, she was doing some shopping of her own. For Canadian bacon. At a small family-owned market that had been around for many decades. And a girlfriend caught her. “So, who is he?” The girlfriend asked, pointing at the Canadian bacon. Thirty-five years later, my wife still called the market “Leo’s,” even though he was long gone. In fact, his two sons retired at the end of Saturday, and the market closed after the better part of a century. There was a big party at mid-day Saturday. Huron Avenue was closed to traffic. That’s where my wife stood telling Crosby, the brother who was also a butcher, about being busted at the market with Canadian bacon years earlier. He was very pleased to hear about the role his market had played in reeling in “Joe.” It was the kind of market where they knew your name. Crosby got mine wrong one day about 25 years ago. But I liked being Joe just fine... My wife brought home one last steak from Crosby for Joe to grill. No Canadian bacon this time. But maybe she’ll wear those old earrings tomorrow. It’s our 31st anniversary.

  37. Maria Ryan (The Diamond Ring): Finding the ring was neither a good nor bad omen; it was a teaching moment, and the lesson is "Do unto others." If you'd lost something of value, would you want someone to make an effort to get it back to you? If yes, then please think about treating others as you want to be treated, always -- not just when an object with of (or seeming value) is involved. I hope my post doesn't offend you, and if it does, I'm sorry; I'm speaking bluntly because I'm taken aback by your non-concern for someone who (you initially thought) had lost something of both material and sentimental value. The world is a bigger mess right now than it has been for a long time; that's why it's more important than ever to treat others with the kindness and fairness that we want extended to ourselves.

  38. The ring story got me thinking. My late great-aunt was head housekeeper at a hotel on E. 51st. A Marist College gold ring was found in one of the rooms and she tried to no avail to find the owner. They checked with recent occupants of the room and took out newspaper ads but got nowhere. She passed on and the ring passed to our family. We eventually had it melted down and made into a initial ring that I still wear. She really tried to do the right thing and return it to the rightful owner.

  39. @Mike Attempted to contact Marist College?

  40. If it’s not too late, call the guy Kate! Many wonderful relationships begin with a “Brief Encounter”. And do tell us what happens, we yentas want to be kept informed!

  41. @Stefanie, I got the impression that her opinion of the door-wrestling fellow plummeted.

  42. I see, I reread and think you may be correct. Don’t know why that would upset her, seems pretty typical from my subway days, which were long ago when the cars were covered with graffiti and soot blew in your face as you climbed up the stairs to street level! Smooshed up to people with sweat dripping down and worrying about the subway slasher hopping on at 23rd and Eli in Long Island City. Someone holding up the car to hop on seems like a party to me!

  43. As disheartening as the ring-finder's selfishness was, it is certainly encouraging to see that so many writers- in an age of greed and "it's all about me" - were troubled by the story. There is hope, and the responses from readers show the good side of our society.

  44. On Your Mark was so good! So vivid. Picking his way-what a beautiful image.

  45. “After happy Hour” is a perfect short-short story. Nice twist at the end. And I like that the writer left us hanging. I don’t like the ring story at all. The world is far too sour these days. There is always a way to unite valuable, found items with their owners. Always. If you are willing to be your better self, and make the effort. I’m glad that the ring was fake.

  46. @Passion for Peaches, this makes me wonder if there's ever been a crossover between the Diary and the Ethicist columns. There may be two issues, the story, and the decision to share the story. (In some ways, it's a very streamlined take on the classic story "The Necklace.")

  47. @Freddie, yes it is a little bit like that story. A sort of morality tale about vanity, greed and the futility of wanting more. Dreams that turn to ash. But the way it is told here is so negative. There is no duplicity in Maupassant’s tale. Just...hmm...not sure. An excess of pride?

  48. @Passion for Peaches- Oy, now you got me thinking, and re-reading the story and comments: Maybe the story is indeed an embellishment of the story, and the person was able to convince the editors that it was exactly as it happened, but may have told the story more dramatically to get the story in!!! There would be another ethical issue, because doesn't every story that makes the five each week mean another story didn't make it in? :) In the old days, getting into the Diary used to come with champagne, but it sounds like it's coveted enough to have a byline in the print edition. Whatever the comments say, I'll bet the writer is sending a PDF of that accomplishment to her family and friends. In BMI writing class, the founder Lehman Engel had an expression when a writer piled on more of the same heart-tugging emotion than needed to be effective, calling the extra detail chosen that brought it over the top (even if it happened in the source material), "That's too much, you're piling Damon upon Pythias" - he was using a slightly salty joke, but it stuck as code for that's not needed except to jerk more tears. That the appraiser's brother had cancer is not an issue in what the finder had decided to do, because she had already decided what she would do, without regard to that. But the very choice to throw in that "non-plot" detail does show that she is self-aware while writing and sending it of the irony that the money meant so much.

  49. Dear Thom, You might have been lucky to have wound up at South Ferry. Another driver hearing that you wanted to be taken to the “Bitter End” might have driven you out to Montauk. Stay well, and thanks for the smile. Allen

  50. @Allen, This looks like it's from a college circuit show that Joey Edmonds and Thom Curley did, their "Twins in the Womb" routine - there's a very very wee bit of mature subject matter in it, but still G-rated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-aMppkOw6csome There have been interesting club names over the years, in addition to Bitter End - also The Bottom Line, Cafe Wha?, Folk City, The Kettle of Fish. I recall seeing Broadway legend Betty Buckley performing at The Bottom Line, and by chance her between-song patter had a lot about choices in her career made by her (and by producers about her) because of financial realities rather than art, and the name of the club "bottom line" resonated. The name Folk City tends to bring to my mind the character April in the show "Company," who came to town from Shaker Heights really wanting to live in Radio City, figuring it was a city near New York. (Wondering if when "Company" returns to Broadway this spring with that role rewritten for a man, that line will still be there.)

  51. @Freddie The name Cafe Wha? brought old memory. I was new to the country and my friends decided to go to Cafe Wha? for a show. It is a very small place and we were sitting in the front row, almost touching distance from the performer who was a singer of some sorts. Now he sings a song, and stops in the middle of the sentence, and thursts his mike towards me. I guess I was supposed to complete the rest of the sentence. And the flood light turned on me, literally. I had no idea what song he was singing, and even if I knew the song, I couldn't have heard it in noise in the room. I jusg shrugged suggesting I did not know what to do. So the singer sang the song again, and again thurst the like towards me mid-sentence. Again the spotlight and the embarrassment. I think he tried to coax some words from me three times, but it felt like an endless loop at that time and I felt be should not have done it. It felt mean at the time. But I don't think he was being mean or anything. Perhaps it was a part of his routine to engage his audience. I think he was as clueless about my lack of knowledge of that song, as I was about the song itself.

  52. As a transportation planner, I can't tell whether the ending of "After Happy Hour" is meant to be a positive twist (the guy is seeking out his new companion) or a horrific reveal: the guy is that jerk who delays the whole system by forcing the subway doors open. Call me unromantic, but I say tear up his card!

  53. @Drew Levitt I had the same thought--something about the story made me feel subway guy was sketchy. Not sure what exactly, but I couldn't tell if 'we' were supposed to be rooting for him. I know that cynicism isn't supposed to rule the day here at the Metropolitan Diary, but I half expected Kate to have heard him trotting out the "I don't know how this works, should I give you my card?" line to another female passenger. Where's my sense of romance today?

  54. The ring finder hurt herself by not being honorable, and her mother by letting her know that she did not raise a principled daughter. Attaching her name to the anecdote compounds the harm done, but maybe she used a pseudonym. My ex lost his wallet three times while we lived in Manhattan and all three times it was returned to him with all the money in it. I lost my wallet once in a cab and it stayed lost. I like my ex’s story better — it shows how many good people there are in the city.

  55. @C, it does seem that the thought I heard a lot in law school, that money only is the determining factor in your decisions if you don't have money, may be applicable here. Or as a very wise lawyer said about any civil law case, where no one can go to jail and dollars are 99++% of the time the only recourse, "It's always about the money. Even when it's not about the money, it's about the money."

  56. @Freddie That's the message that our current POTUS goes by. Kill a journalist? No problem as long as you're paying cash.

  57. @C What's with these commenters that assume it's on the mother to teach principles? Do we not have any expectations for the fathers? Why not say parents? And, I disagree on the compounding harm. Is the harm less if the culprit is anonymous? Her story shows she learns, and attaching her name shows she acknowledges she did wrong.

  58. In the UK you can hand lost items in to the local police. If it is not claimed then after a time you get to keep it, all clean and proper.

  59. @Walsh in the US you can do the same. Unfortunately after a year, the ring has mysteriously gone missing.

  60. the comments to met diary are often just as entertaining and thought provoking as the original stories. Thank you for this weekly half hour of relaxation.

  61. The diamond ring story reminded me of the time I went into a store in the diamond district six months after I moved to New York. I had been divorced for over a year to a man who had been extremely abusive to me. I felt blessed I had gotten away from him with some semblance of my sanity. He had come very close to killing my spirit. It had dawned on me one day I could get some much needed money for the ring. So, I handed over the ring to the dealer, who promptly told me the ring was a fake.

  62. @Donna Bailey Hon, with abusive men, everything ELSE is fake, too! You got away, count yourself lucky. *Hugs.* I escaped from an abuser, too, after 25 years. My mother gave me my wedding ring. That's how I KNOW it's real. She always loved me. She's actually *capable* of love. The abuser, he never was.

  63. I had a rather different take on the diary entry entitled "After Happy Hour". I believe that the man in the cap had seen Katie boarding the train, so he ran after her, trying to catch up, because he so wanted to keep up their conversation from the night before, and just in time he was able to get his hands on the doors and force them upon. So, Katie, please do not keep us waiting any longer, what happened next?

  64. @anne Yep. That's what I thought, too.

  65. @anne yes!!! I need to know more!

  66. My mother bought a used Rolex for me from a watch repair shop~ circa 70s--trying to upgrade my image I suppose. I didn't really like it...but when the batteries died on my other watches, I used it for a bit. The stem broke and I did not want to get it repaired and just let is sit in a drawer for a decade or so. As part of my downsizing process, my wife and I took the watch and some other stuff to a pawn shop to see if we could get a bit of cash. Made out better than we though on the other jewelry, but the "Rolex"--with the supposed gold case was quite fake. It was a good ironic laugh.

  67. To the ring finder: your mom apparently did attempt to raise you right. The truly bad sign here is she apparently failed.

  68. @MP Not attempting to find owner of the ring is wrong. It's bad karma. Remember: What you give is what you get. What goes around comes around. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You get the point.

  69. @MP Why is it that the mom alone is responsible for raising her right? Why not both parents? I get tired of hearing how "the mom" is to blame....so misongynistic.

  70. @Texan. Not to mention that both parents may have tried their hardest......to no avail.

  71. When I was a newly engaged medical student, I was assigned to remove the staples from a patient's post-surgical wound. I had a 0.75 carat round diamond with a gold band on and I couldn't get my gloves on over the setting. So I took off the ring, put it in my pants pocket, put on the gloves, and removed the patient's staples. He was discharged home shortly thereafter. I then remembered a few hours later that I didn't put my ring back on, but when I checked my pockets, the ring was nowhere to be found. I frantically went back to the patient's room, but it had already been cleaned and there was no sign of the ring. I went to hospital Lost and Found where they laughed in my face. I went to hospital security where they said that nothing had been reported, but that they would log it. Long story short, I never found the ring, my now-husband gave me a new one, and we've been married twenty years, so it was a small unfortunate blip in an otherwise good life. I hope whoever took it did something good with the ring or the money they got for it.

  72. @Annie: as an old retired OR RN, most of the surgeons I new tied their rings into the knots of their surgical pants. Worked very well.

  73. @Annie holding your ring by clipping it in a big safety pin on your scrubs works well, or strung on a sturdy necklace.

  74. @Annie All these stories make me wonder why we flaunt expensive diamonds on our fingers to indicate we are married when a simple band would suffice.

  75. My husband lost his class ring over 20 years ago at a Northern California car wash. Recently a woman from Colorado got in touch with him and said she found the ring on a local hiking trail. My husband's name was not on the ring, but his school, graduation year and football number were. She went the extra mile (calling the school to figure it out) to solve that mystery! We sent her a camping hammock for her thoughtfulness, but I think her integrity is the best gift.

  76. @Sass I love this story!

  77. I relocated for a job transfer and the day before I was to fly out my wife and I went to Robert Moses beach. I lost my wedding band on the beach that day - we searched for hours and I said - I guess I'm leaving my heart in NY. My wife was to meet me several weeks later. The next day she went back to the beach and she left her name and number - a week later she received a call - a gold ring was turned in - could it be - yes it was - the ring went from the finder, to the life guard, to the lost and found office. I am forever grateful and just as important it made me believe - believe in how much good there is in this world!

  78. LOTS of comments about the lost and found ring. My take on it: perhaps it had sentimental value to whoever owned it originally? Why does the finder feel entitled to keep it?

  79. @RLiss Bad parenting. No morals.

  80. @DK There's a great expression in French for a person who had bad parenting: mal eleve, badly brought up.

  81. @DK And, yet, her mother told her that somewhere some woman was weeping over the loss of that ring. Her mother isn't at fault here. She's just a selfish person, one that I'm happy not to know.

  82. I felt not so judgmental about Maria Ryan's behavior in her story as kind of baffled that she would blithely recount the events and sign her name to the tale as if her actions were completely within the boundaries of what anyone would do under the circumstances. Why even include the details about her friend's misfortunes? And it seems like she's "embarrassed and subdued" cause she was so clueless to have not realized the ring was not as valuable as she had presumed. And what is the "bad sign"? That the universe is a cheapskate?

  83. @Thomas Trowbridge: I usually propose quarterstaffs behind the nearest building to another "base can(e)ard" (of any age), to take place right before the cocktail hour. Always get a grin, if not an opponent.

  84. I am as puzzled by the diamond ring story as I am appalled. Why would you publish this with your name on it? The last para really adds an insult to the injury. You are "embarrassed and subdued" because the ring turned out to be fake! But you feel no remorse/regret/shame at what you've done?

  85. The diamond ring had been thrown out by someone whose partner had cheated on her. Now it turns out her partner was a cheapskate, it wasn't even genuine. Good riddance.

  86. @Duggy I know someone who that very thing happened to! Fake ring...thrown out. HA!

  87. Why are readers so negative on the ring story? It's a GREAT morality tale. Someone hoped to profit off another person's misfortune -- but there was no profit to be made! Of course they felt exposed and embarrassed!

  88. @Laura Duhan Kaplan When in doubt, do the right thing.

  89. Thank you T. Trowbridge and the cane walker. Playfulness makes every age better!

  90. Good stuff.

  91. One more related story to the ring..This is from the early days of the IPad. My son saw one left in the Post Office and was sorely tempted to ‘hock’ it- but according to him- ‘Mom I heard your annoying voice in my head- yelling -don’t touch what is not yours’ and took it to Lost and Found’. Maybe the mother’s voice in your story was not annoying enough?

  92. I had a very impressive streak going with solved NY Times crossword puzzles. But one day I was doing the Times puzzle and I thought I was doing the Washington Post puzzle, which has no penalty for peeking, so a really hard clue made me peek and boom my impressive streak disappeared into the cyberverse in a microsecond.

  93. Dear Maria, That ring was a gift from the Universe. It showed you that you are being too greedy and selfish. Think about it. Your emotions made you believe that glass and steel were diamond and platinum. And when you believed that, you also cared nothing for the legitimate owner of the ring. What other bad judgements are you making because your values are false. Finding that ring is an opportunity for you to answer this question.

  94. I thought the ring story already included the implicit lesson, and the writer felt the shame she was supposed to feel - enough, even, to confess to all of us.

  95. What's an "ornery grin?" Makes no sense.

  96. The finder of the fake ring is given a harder time than if she’d made a fortune selling the ring and had no conscience jabbing at her. For shame, so many said, especially for putting your name to your guilty act. I took it that that finder had learned an important lesson: greed wasn’t worth it! Turning it in would have given her so much more satisfaction even if the ring had been worth a lot. There was this lesson: mother (the moral one) is always right. Doing the right thing is worth more than cash. The guilty concience that came (finally) with the joke on her was an ironic lesson that will last.

  97. @Jan, agreed. Also, if the experience didn’t move or change her, why did she submit an essay about it to a national newspaper?

  98. @Jan, agreed. Also, if the experience didn’t move or change her, why did she submit an essay about it to a national newspaper? NYT comment sections are usually pretty thoughtful, but this one has an off-with-her-head vibe. Writers should be able to admit to flaws and mistakes.

  99. I love this series. It always make me want to live in NYC again.

  100. I enjoyed this a lot. My experience of loosing something in New York was surprisingly good. Once, a couple of decades ago, I was sharing a cab with an ornery friend, and was so flustered by him that I left my handbag there. A couple of days later a kind woman called and said that she had found it, and apologized for looking through it! She had found my name and the name of my acting school in the jumbled mess, and through them, my phone number. I went to her Greenwich Village house later that day. The door was opened by her housekeeper, who very politely handed my purse to me. I handed her a bottle of wine for the lady of the house. I miss New York. Love this series.

  101. Regarding a lost item -- When my father passed away in 1998, he left a storage locker loaded with furniture, books and family memorabilia, including priceless photographs. My sister and I were too shell-shocked to go through the stuff. Neither of us lived near the locker. So we procrastinated (paying the monthly storage fee!), and finally when we contracted a delivery guy to pack it up and ship it, he disappeared and all the stuff did too. Close to twenty years later, I received an email from a local business where my father had lived -- someone dropped off a couple of boxes of stuff, did I want them shipped to me? I received two boxes of family pictures going back three generations, including wonderful shots of my father in his uniform in England during World War Two, and pictures of a great-grandfather and a great-grandmother that I had never seen before. The woman who dropped off the boxes did not want to be identified and we never found out who she was. Good Samaritan? Reformed thief? I don't know, but she saved a family history that would have been forever lost to me and my children.

  102. Lost in NYC: One night in 2005 my partner went to the drug store pick up a prescription that I needed to stay alive after a recent bone marrow transplant. It was bitter cold, windy, and rainy. On the way back, the wind blew the bag with the prescription medicine out of his hand. After half an hour of searching up and down the block he came home, distraught. We would have to wait until morning to call the doctor and see if a replacement prescription could be filled (was that even possible?) My partner went back out again with a flashlight to continue combing the area. In front of the drugstore were three young teens, holding the bag. They had been waiting all this time in the wind, in the rain, in the cold for whoever might come back for that precious medicine.

  103. @Thea This made my month, as did the thought that your health is good. I hope I’m right about the latter.

  104. On Your Mark largely hinges on the concept that older people are somehow a different species. The internet is lousy with these 'look at grandma* dance!' memes, where a woman who happens to be in her seventies takes to the dance floor and busts a move, to the apparent astonishment of many. * And don't even get me started on the assumption that a every older person is, or only exists to be someone's grandparent. Here's a thought - what if old people are basically young people who've continued living beyond their forties? With this in mind we wouldn't have to be surprised if old guys crack jokes. Or shocked if old women shake tail feathers. They're just fun dudes/chicks having a good time. And hopefully, that great fortune is granted to all of us.

  105. Obviously no one who is commenting has ever tried to return something of value you found on the street. You could post notices and maybe an ad somewhere but you would have to know that a claimant was legitimate. You could turn it in to the police but they would just put it in a safe in the precinct house and call you in ninety days to take it-- a slow way to keep it and feel good. I guess I would have it evaluated and if it was valuable take out some kind of proportionate ads and also post some kind of notices in the immediate area. At any rate does anyone know what she should have done?

  106. Regarding the ring story. One year, we were at a kids birthday party at an arcade, and when I came to play the skee-ball machine, I noticed a wallet with a phone. I opened the wallet only to see the name of the person and waited around the area. A few minutes later, a woman who looked very distraught, appeared. I asked her if she was looking for something and she said, yes, I lost my wallet. I asked her for the name, and it matched! She was so happy, but I was even happier. Lo and behold, exactly a year later, at the birthday for the same kids, a different arcade, I find a wallet near the skee ball machine! A few minutes later, a man approached, again, looking like he lost something and when I asked him, he said, my wife's wallet, and I gave it back to him. You would think karma would work both ways, alas, when my 83 year old dad got distracted at Home Depot and put his wallet on the counter, someone behind him must have grabbed it and that was the end of it.

  107. The 44th 5 That traditional In-town Race no one noticed