Something I am still learning, and which I totally believe in, is to trust my instincts ... they seem to know more about what is going on around me than I do!
On many occassions I have had a compulsion to pick something up as I leave home and discovered that it came in useful at some point during the day. Of course, the opposite of this is the nagging feeling that I have left home with something I really needed ... such as the wedding clothes for the party last weekend!
It was probably a combination of these that helped to keep me reasonably calm during my repeated search of the flat for the missing negatives. Three nights I looked in the same places ... though I only went through the bins once, thank you very much ... all the while with the feeling that whilst I wasn't going to find them at my flat, they weren't totally lost ... yet.
Wednesday lunchtime, I decided to check one final place and called my Mum. By this point, whilst I couldn't recall exactly what had happened to the negatives after putting them on my bed, I know I had put them inside something to keep them flat whilst in my bag. The only remaining place that this could be was the box of printouts I had created for the table centres.
So I start with the usual pleasantries, followed by a nonchalant change of subject to rubbish. When do they collect? Thursday. Excellent, that means there is still a possibility I could be saved!
Then came the cautious, "Why?".
On the basis that if they weren't in the bin there was no point mentioning it, I glossed over the specifics saying that I had chucked something I needed and that it was possibly in a white and green Smart Price box (for those who don't know the reference, perhaps a hint: the supermarket should be renamed Chav*Mart).
After a few seconds of picking at the rubbish, it became apparent that Mum was going to need two hands to deal with this, and put the phone to one side. I could hear her rifling through the bin, shifting the contents about and making comments about the smell. It felt like an eternity.
And then came the exclamation: "Oh my God, Richard!!"
Oh joy, but still, OH CRAP!!
I immediately had images hurling through my head of the negatives slimed in left-over yoghurt and baby nappies. However, it seems the incredible luck was better than I thought: the negatives were in sheaths, inside a brown paper bag, inside the white box, so they were totally protected from the rest of the bin content. The only thing that was noticeable was a bend (not a crease) in the negatives where I had folded the box up!
I now know exactly what happened. The box containing the printouts didn't open up fully, instead having an opening near one side. The negatives had hidden in the bottom of the box when I had taken out the printouts so, because I hadn't seen them in there and they hadn't come out with the prints, I forgot they were there and promptly folded the box for the rubbish :-(
Hence the reason for the questions at the beginning of part one: Have you ever wondered if there are bigger forces in play around you, whilst you go about absorbed in your daily life? Either testing your resolve or rewarding you for good behaviour?
I spent the rest of Wednesday thanking whoever had looked over me, pondering what lesson I was being taught here - though it was a bit of a harsh way of doing it, if you ask me! Have they never heard of email??
Maybe the lesson is to stop coasting and pay more attention? Quite possibly. I do tend to float along, especially when I am tired, so I don't pay attention to things.
Maybe it was a way of warning me that I was taking on too much? Again, quite possibly. I always get myself into a jam by trying to take on too much and end up stressed out and exhausted.
Or maybe it really is just a case of amazing and incredible luck?