Angel in Billings

Long drive yesterday. I started in Dillon, MT. Had thoughts of going all the way home, but why push it. Bismarck would be far enough. So I stopped in Billings at my favorite chain restaurant, Famous Dave's, and then stopped at a local coffee shop for a thick, caffiene-heavy latte for the road. While at the coffee shop, I checked emails. One of the emails contained a very interesting proposal, which was whirling in my mind as I left the coffee shop. 

Whirl, whirl, whirl. The first forty miles of I-94 went fast as I was thinking about the email. Then my phone buzzed. It was brother Joe. 

"Some woman from Billings, Montana just called and said she has your laptop." 

I had no idea what happened. I must have left it at the coffee shop, I thought. What an idiot. 

Turns out, I was a bigger idiot than I thought. After getting in touch with "some woman," a Kristen of Billings, it became obvious that I left the Macbook Air on the roof of my car while I took off my jacket for the drive. After throwing my jacket in my car, I got in, drove off, only to have my computer end up on the street in front of Wal-mart. 

Kristen found the computer on the street, opened it up and found my contact information, tried my cell phone which didn't connect, then found the nursery by searching on the internet, called Joe, and then, what's more, offered to bring the computer out to the edge of town so I wouldn't have to drive back so far. 

I am reminded of the Buddhist tale of an angst-ridden young man who brings all his wealth to a wise man and offers it in return for the secret to happiness. The wise man steals the chest and runs away. The young man chases him for miles and miles, grows exhausted, gives up and goes home, defeated and demoralized. 

The next morning, the wise man, holding the chest of gold coins, knocks at the young man's door and hands him the chest. The young man is ecstatic, utterly thrilled to have his gold coins back. 

"There you have the secret to happiness," the wise man repled. Getting back what you already had makes you appreciate what you had and now have again more than when you first had it. 

Got it? 

Not that Kristin stole my laptop from me––my stupidity did that–– but I was happier for the rest of the day having her return my laptop than if it had been sitting beside me on the front seat the whole while, in which case my mind would have likely wondered into unproductive rumination on the 411 mile trip to Bismarck that was stretched into a more enjoyable 490 miles by Kristin returning my gold chest. Or my laptop, as the case may be. 

And meeting Kristen was a delight. According to her Facebook profile, she is a "bikini athlete." I love it! (You may have a good samaritan tale, but I'll bet my good samaritan is hotter than your good samaritan!) She is entering a body-building competition next week. 

She's already a champion in my book.