The question came from the back seat of the car I was driving. We were following the lead car, driven by my husband. After racing around a barnyard playground, jumping on giant inflatables and ripping along ziplines on a traditional fun farm in southwestern Ontario, my passengers---two 11-year-old girls and their Korean grandmother---were heading home. My husband’s lead car held the Korean grandfather and two more 11-year-olds.
“Pardon?” I asked our young backseat passenger who was translating for her grandmother.
“Where is your black bag? My grandma wants to know if you have your black bag.”
I paused. Thinking.
Then said, “I do. Tell her it’s in the trunk.”
I could hear the girl translating my words.
“She means the other black bag. The one with my cell in it.”
Uh-oh. I did not have the other black canvas bag. I assumed---never assume I know---someone else had taken responsibility for it.
“I do not know where the black canvas bag is. Is it in the back seat with you girls?”
“Oh, my goodness. (Actually, I muttered an expletive here.) We need to turn around. Go back to the farm,” I panicked. “But first we need to let the lead car know what we’re doing.”
How to attract attention so the lead car will stop?
Honk. Honk. Honk. Honk. Multi, short shrill blasts as I leaned on the horn.
No reaction from the lead car.
So I opened the sun/moon (what is the difference please?) roof and while still driving to keep up with the lead, I stuck my arm out the open top and waved. And waved. And waved. Frantically. So did the girls. To get the lead car’s attention. We caught everyone else’s attention. Including the farmer atop a slow, lumbering hay wagon. The Korean grandmother looked somewhat amused. She wanted to know about the strange, open roof. But no time for explanations.
Surely my husband, glancing in the rear view mirror, would see my frantic waving arm and wonder why I was doing this and therefore stop.
I figured if he couldn’t hear the horn and couldn’t spot my waving arm from the roof of the car, then surely he would never see us.
So he would not stop.
Meanwhile, I had to turn around quickly, before we were too far away from the farm. No time to waste.
I saw an approaching intersection. Desperately hoping he would glance in the rear view mirror, I signaled to turn right. Then did so.
I watched as his car blithely continued on. He did not see us make our turn.
But when was that? And where would I be? And how could we connect with no cell phone?
I sighed again.
As I was planning my return, I heard something in Korean behind me. The 11-year-old in the back seat said she asked her grandmother again about the black canvas bag.
That’s when her grandmother, sitting beside me on the front seat, held up the black canvas bag! With the cell phone in it!
“You had the bag beside you all the time!” I said in astonishment.
The Korean grandmother smiled sweetly. She held up the black bag again for me to see. She nodded pleasantly. No idea of the havoc rattling inside my brain during the interval of the missing black bag.
I sighed: long, relieved, and just a wee bit confused.
So we continued on our way and it wasn’t long before I spied my husband’s lead car parked along the side waiting for us to catch up from wherever…
…and he had no idea about this drama over a missing black bag.