Confessions: Tracking Diaries #7
I stare at the low chair in my living room, which I would swear on anything you like contained an orange backpack full of specialized sloth tracking equipment the last time I saw it. It is now empty.
I’m dead. I think. Or fired, or going crazy. I’ve only just transitioned out of volunteer status with SloCo into a full-time team member, and now that I’ve lost the tracking equipment I’m likely going to be demoted so fast I’ll probably have to give back all of my t-shirts with the nice logo on them.
It might just be easier to fall on my sword, only I don’t have a sword, so I sit down in the other chair instead. Okay, let’s think about this.
If a thief had broken into my house and stolen the backpack, it seems pretty unlikely that they left my laptop alone and nicely locked the door again after they left, so perhaps the equipment isn’t stolen. This is good for my sense of security, but unfortunately, it leaves me with only one other conclusion, which is that I did something with the equipment, and I have no idea what that might have been. Also, it’s getting late and I REALLY have to track some sloths today.
Part of the problem is that I have a confession to make: I have done almost no actual sloth tracking this month. I’ve been editing and proofreading and writing instead. How that happened went something like this:
Ceci: “We have a ton of mailings and content going out this month, and I need some help cleaning them up for an English-speaking audience.”
Dr. Becky: “Have Ames do it.
Doesn’t he have a degree in writing or something?”
*Distant maniacal laughter from my high school English teacher*
Me: “Actually I never went to—”
Ceci: “Great! Hey Amelia, can I borrow Ames this month?”
Amelia: “Sure, just give him back in January. Our other tracker is leaving to go be a skydiving instructor in Norway or some such.”
Dr. Becky: “Done.”
Me: “Do I get a say—”
Ceci, Dr. Becky, and Amelia: “Nope. To the computer with you!”
Distant high school English teacher: “Oh, this is rich. Do you want to know what grades he got in school?”
Me: “Shut up, you.”
And so I spent most of December parked in front of a screen. I also taught myself how to make a latte and chased off vacationing trucks who kept wanting to turn the little jungle restoration area in front of my house into a parking lot, but I saw very few sloths.
I did escape my house long enough to make an excursion to the US embassy to renew my passport, during which time I only got lost in San Jose twice, missed my appointment once, and narrowly avoided sleeping on the streets of the port city of Limon on my way back home.
Instead, I shared an overcrowded taxi with five other guys (and sat on the laps of three of them: don’t ask) while we all ducked our heads and hid every time we passed a police checkpoint.
I was at the post office arranging the delivery of my hard-earned passport when the orange backpack went missing from my house. Think think think. After a bit, I start knocking on my neighbor’s doors and asking if they’ve seen anyone come or go from the property.
Me: “Buenas Linda! Has visto a alguien entrar en mi casa?”
Linda: “Ahh, no. ¿Quieres ravioles?”
Me: “Hey Dave, has anyone been by the house today?”
Dave: “Not that I’ve seen. Is something missing? Maybe we should look for clues!”
Me: “I think the jungle ate the clues. Oh, and by the way, Linda is making ravioli…”
Me: “Hey Kev,” I ask my ex (who is also my neighbor. Really don’t ask. It’s a small town.) “You haven’t seen an invisible thief run off with an orange backpack, have you?”
Kevin: “No, but Amanda came by and said she would track sloths today for you. I still have your spare key so I let her in.”
Me: “Oh thank God!”
Kevin: “Is that a problem?”
Me: “Nope, not at all. Don’t mind me while I just sag down here and lay on the floor.”
Kevin: “You look a little pale. Have you tried these ravioli? They’re really good.”
It turns out I did not need to doubt my sanity after all. I just had to open up and talk to people, because most of them mean you well.
They guard your spare keys, they track sloths for you, they make you food. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.