There were several “Leigh” stories that came from my Australia trip. I’m a moron. I do stupid stuff all the time. It seems to be heightened when vacationing, as my mind literally is in the clouds. How I have not been pick-pocketed or robbed is a modern-day miracle. I walk around with a big goofy grin on my face, looking up at the sky, practically wearing a sign that says: “I have hundreds of small, unmarked bills in my unzipped pocket right next to my camera and passport, please take them!”
During my Australia trip, my friend and I made our way to the Outback. We opted to join a tour group as a means to coordinate and make sure we saw everything we wanted to. We were at least 20 years younger than the other tourists in the group. Everyone called us “the girls.”
Part of the tour involved long treks on a bus travelling across hot deserts of nothingness. The silver lining was the “rest stops.” Australian rest stops basically consist of a diner, some caged exotic animals (kangaroos, ostrich and emu are exotic to me!), a gift shop/convenience store and bathrooms. We were on the last leg of our trip to Alice Springs when we stopped at a rest stop that the bus driver informed us was well known for its milkshakes.
Ding, ding, ding!!! Folks, we have a winner!!!
I quickly scarfed down food of some nutritional value, then eagerly waited in line for a milkshake. I ordered a HUGE Oreo-type milkshake. It was delectable. I then decided to hit the washroom real quick before we got back on the bus. I was eagerly sucking on my milkshake straw like it was my lifeline to air while trapped in a pit of quicksand. Heaven!
About 30 minutes after we left the rest stop my friend and I decided to look through the pictures on my camera. I went to grab my purse at my feet, where I had been keeping it.
Hmm, that’s odd. No purse.
I looked behind my friend’s feet. No purse.
I checked the pockets in the seats. Nothing.
Panic began to set in. I jumped up and looked in the overhead bin. No purse. I started tearing through the bin and our seats like they may have been hiding bits of cheese. My heart was pumping rapidly as I realized my purse was not there. I must have left it in the bathroom … at a rest stop … in the middle of the desert!!!!!
I was SO transfixed by that god damn milkshake that I left my PURSE hanging in the restroom stall. And in my purse was my camera (the only one of the trip because my friend had broken hers right before I arrived) and my wallet housing my IDs, passport, money and credit cards. Oh my god!
I tore up to the bus driver like my ass was on fire and he was holding a bucket of water. I’m a rather unbalanced person so on my frenzied journey I bounced and swayed into all the seats and people. I’m pretty sure I may have broken some of these geezers’ faces with my pumping elbows.
“We have a problem!” I panted to the bus driver. “I think I left my purse at the rest stop.” I wiped at the sweat dripping down my face like a tweaker coming off meth. “You think?” he asked warily. “Well, it’s not here.” I said. He informed me he would try to radio to another bus in the touring company that was several hours behind us. They could pick up the purse and I could get it in Alice Springs. Unfortunately, because we were in the middle of the f’ing DESERT, the radio was not working.
There goes that option.
I did have one thing working in my favor. I was a nubile twenty-something woman in a sea of old people. My (semi) pert breasts and taut skin were a welcome sight for this red-blooded man who had actively been flirting with my friend and me the entire trip. He offered to turn the bus around and go back to the rest stop so I could get my purse.
I almost jumped on his lap to thank him before I remembered he was driving a bus full of people. I opted to clap and smile instead.
When we got to the rest stop I hurled myself off the bus on a dead run to the bathroom. I ran through every stall.
My heart stopped as I fought back tears. How could I be so stupid? Damn you, milkshake, damn you!
My feet dragged as I left the bathroom. That’s when I saw my friend sauntering toward me holding … my purse! Someone had found it and given it to the convenience store workers. Hooray!
We ended up getting to Alice Springs about an hour late. Fortunately, everyone on the tour was very kind about the whole situation. I offered to meet everyone at the local casino to buy them a drink later that evening.
What did I do instead? We checked into our hotel and I accidentally passed out super early and did not, in fact, buy a single person a drink.
I am going to hell.
When in a foreign country, it’s probably best to not have ALL your IDs, credit cards and your passport in ONE area. Any moron knows this. Second, when opting between holding onto your MILKSHAKE and holding onto your PURSE, hold onto your purse.
Seriously. It’s not that complicated.
All I can say, though, is thank you dimples and DDs. Once again you have come through for me in a clutch.
Jiggle jiggle, giggle giggle, oh la la!