I left Portland in a cab, with my bag and my coat and my scarf, except it wasn’t really a scarf, it was my birch. I knit birch way back in 2005, that’s nine and a half years ago, and I have loved it to death ever since. I knit it out of three balls Rowan’s Crack Silk Haze in a colour called “Jelly” and let me tell you, that yarn is good stuff. I don’t decide a yarn is good because it’s pretty, or because it’s soft – I decide a yarn is good when it stays good for a long, long time, and I’ve been jamming that shawl in pockets and bags for almost a decade. Winding it around my face in the winter, draping it over my shoulders on planes, wearing it over dresses when I wanted to pretend I was elegant. It’s been washed many times, and it’s been through the washer, once by accident, and it still looked new. Totally new. Not a speck of wear, and man, has it been worn. I loved the colour, I loved the texture, I loved (with a passion that knew no bounds) the way it looked with my orange coat. So yesterday, when I left the hotel in the morning, I tucked it in the sleeve of my coat (like I always do) so that it wouldn’t get lost, but that didn’t work, because when I arrived in Seattle, it was gone. I stepped out of the cab and went into the lobby of the hotel, tossed my coat on my bag and saw it wasn’t peeking out of the sleeve. I snatched up the coat, ran my arm quickly down both sleeves to see where it was, and then almost burst into tears right there. I left my purse and bag in the lobby and ran back outside to the cab, and he was still there, but my birch wasn’t, and then I knew.
Somewhere between Portland and Seattle, there’s my birch. I’m pretty sure I had it when I got on the plane, so I don’t think it was PDX. I’m pretty sure I put it around my neck when I stood up to board the flight too, and I think I remember putting it down the sleeve of my coat again before I stuffed it in the overhead bin. I even think (but maybe I am just dreaming it now) that I saw it in the sleeve when I left the plane, and I think that means that somewhere between the plane and the cab – it slipped free of the sleeve and my possession, fell to the floor, and I, rather unbelievably, walked away from it.
I went up to my hotel room without it, and the sense of loss was really something. I know it’s just an object and objects don’t matter that much, it’s not like someone was hurt or died or anything, but it does feel sad, and I’ve done everything reasonable I can to get it back, but I just think it’s gone. (I’ve called everyone important, and I went to the lost and found at the Seattle airport when I went back this morning, and I’m going to call all those people again tomorrow too.) It was funny, because when I put on my coat to go to the event, I realized that I might not love my orange coat the way I thought I did. I think I love my orange coat with the lime birch, and I think I might have not bought myself a coat, but rather – I may have unbelievably accessorized an accessory. A wardrobe for birch.
I put it right out of my mind when I got to Third Place books though, because look what it looked like to be me.
I can’t believe how many of those people I knew, which is really, just about the only way to make that number of people looking at you less terrifying. Seattle, you know how to show an author a good time, let me tell you that. You were all charming, totally charming, but let me show you just one person.
That’s Nikolis, and he was there to get a book for his Fiancé Jessika, because she couldn’t make it. He dutifully sat through the event, waited in line, delivered a little something that Jessika told him to bring me, got the book signed, and then asked if he could have a picture with me and the book. I looked at him for a second, and then I got it.
“Proof?” I asked.
“Yup.” he said, and I got up and we took the picture, but then I thought blogging him might be even better. Jessika? He seems nice.
See you all tomorrow. I’ve got an event tonight in San Francisco.
(PS, if you follow that link, it looks like Books Inc. would be happy to send you a signed book, but you might have to ask them before I get there which is super soon. (7pm, San Francisco time.)