Ah, the next day.
Horrible sleep. Horrible headache.
I tried to start out the day light and got a ride to UT. Good idea. But then I chose to walk back to the hotel at lunch. Not such a good idea. In fact, perhaps a straight out bad idea.
Because first, I had heavy bags. Second, it was hot. And third, as I walked across the drawbridge, I heard a metal-on-metal jangle. I didn’t see anything, even though I stopped and looked, and I kept going.
I got back to the hotel – hot, tired, and realizing what the noise was. My best pen. My most expensive pen. My newest pen. My lovely lovely Cross Spire that I had just gotten during my trip to Milwaukee.
It had been attached to my binder. Yet somehow it had unscrewed itself as I walked, and all I had left was the lid, still firmly attached.
Not an auspicious start.
Lots of wailing and moaning on my part. Complaining. Insert your own –ing verb here.
But it was lunchtime. And life could still be worse, right?
So then my travel wife (we’ll keep on calling her “Sandra” for this third and final installment) discovered that there was a church gift shop in the neighborhood. And, honestly, who doesn’t want to go to a church’s gift shop?
We went, and I found a necklace with Saint Dymphna on it. I had never heard of her. But apparently she’s the “Patron of Those with Mental Illness.” The little pamphlet tells us that she was the daughter of a chieftain whose wife died. He went crazy, got hot for his daughter, and she ran away. He followed her, made advances, and she refused so he chopped off her head. I’m not quite sure how that makes her a patron saint for the crazies, but it didn’t matter. I knew I needed it. My pen was making me crazy for sure.
I bought it and tucked it into my bag. Then it was back to UT.
And it happened.
I found my pen.
It hadn’t fallen all the way through the slats. It was somehow still there, wedged in, but visible to anyone who was scanning the silver metal. So was it my patron saint looking out for me? Or just the fact that people don’t look down?
Either way, I got my pen and my patron saint. And I’m still in Tampa.