Saturday, 5 June 2021

Mama reminded me of the lost and found and Ms. G.

December 2012, Berlin
Dear Ms. G,

What can I say? How do I communicate my gratitude to you? Not only for the return of my keys, not to mention the even less expected handing over of the cash! No, that goes without saying, so the thought - if such an exceedingly considerate act was about the delegated responsibility of our empathy, then we would already see in our mind's eye how one reacted to it: filled with gratitude.

Anyway, I can't appreciate how much effort you put in to see your honorable deed through to the end. May I then still claim that I really appreciate it? Either way, I've been unsettled by the possibility that you would not appreciate how grateful I am.
But there's more.

As I searched up and down that stretch of road and searched again, one question kept turning in my mind: If I found such a strange possession lying in the street, what would I do?  How?

In any case, I would wish that the property-without-person (i.e. without any determining references to a specific owner) would find itself back in the right hands, back in the right pocket, back at home.

I imagined being confronted with the dilemma: Simply leave it there? Put it on more visible display nearby? Stand around all day where I found it, waving the keys around in the air, yelling out in all directions to make the find  most public?

You see, Ms. G, doing your part to see to the return of my keys together with the cash, you indirectly taught me something else: I had never heard of such a Lost and Found Bureau. When I first heard that word [Fundbüro], I asked, "Is there such a thing?" "I don't really know," came the reply from the same person who had advanced the validity of the word by way of suggestion.
I was uneasy being handed a note with the address of the "finder", especially since the woman in the lost and found office had initially spoken of an anonymous person. On that small slip of paper was also a suggested finder's fee of one euro. Or, more precisely, written on the back with your name and address thus: 1,00€. Strange, I thought. How do they come up with that?

"Of course you can give more," the lady said. Of course, I also thought. Here I was again encountering yet more uncertainties.

"Chocolates," said the first person I asked for advice. Yes, that's also a standard, I thought. Subsequently, I talked with my sister and mother, who considered and discussed. Finally, my sister posited that if someone willingly submits such personal information, maybe she'd just like to hear about it should that property and person find themselves together again. Of course! 
Hence a solution to my imagined dilemma. I hadn't known what I'd do with unidentified property precisely because I would have wanted to know foremost when and if the things had found their way back home. So you've managed to teach me yet another lesson.

And now I hope you know, dear Ms. G, how grateful I am.