This morning Claude was headed off to work as usual when, at the side of the road, he heard a phone ringing. He stopped to investigate and discovered a woman’s clutch purse, jacket and pumps at the side of the road. He didn’t get to it in time to answer the phone so he brought it all back to the house for safekeeping. I looked through the handbag for a quick inventory: make-up, a few paper euros, a credit card and an iPhone. The phone was locked but the card had a name on it.
Even though I had no intention of going out today, I couldn’t stand the thought of this poor woman panicking all day wondering where her things had been left. The sun was shining and it was really quite warm out so I decided to walk into town and drop the things at the Garda station. The prom was jam-packed full of people mostly in a state of undress, at least as skimpily dressed as I have yet seen them, en masse. The beaches were bustling with sunbathers and kids playing in the surf and sand, there were a number of people swimming in the bay.
Upon my arrival at the Garda station I spoke with a young (and I mean young, like no more than 22) woman and told her about Claude finding the belongings. She said she thought she knew who it was who lost the items and began pulling on a pair of latex gloves to investigate the purse; when I said the name I had read on the card she just pulled the gloves back off her hands and said she was right. She seemed actually to be gloating, as if she was going to give the owner a healthy ration of teasing when she contacted her. I gave the Garda woman our names and mobile number and went on my way, grinning at our encounter and shaking my head at the small town nature of our adopted big city home. And relieved at the happy ending for the woman who could have had a much worse outcome.