Friday, February 19, 2010

For the love of scarf, a tragedy

I don’t care what you guys think of me and this post. I'm grieving the loss of something I handled daily, something that was a hugely integral part of my everyday life. I really miss my stolen (and/or lost) Burberry scarf and I think the whole world (or all 5 of you) needs to know the sad story of my, now former, second favorite accessory. I'm going to begin with a short backstory.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I lived in New York for a year. The experience was more than stressful thanks to an unsupportive boyfriend who later dumped me, a really neat, but filthy apartment in the ghettos of West Harlem and a sales job that sent me to New England two weeks out of every summer month... and those were just the small tortures. I loved and hated my working time on the road. It meant I had to leave my cat with an unpredictable partner or with my friends. I was away from the City, on the road alone in strange places like White River Junction (that's right, Vermonters, strange) for days at a time. I believed it was worth the discomfort because I’d soon be able to visit a place on someone else's dime that I’d always only dreamed of: Maine.

For those of you who grew up in New England, you might say, Maine? Moose and rednecks? Whatever, yes, but I was thinking more Cabot Cove, majestic lighthouses and cliffs overlooking an angry Atlantic Ocean. When I finally made it to Maine, I upgraded to a convertible and set out to explore. It was a great trip which actually coincided for a few hours with my aunt, uncle and cousin’s journey up to Prince Edward Island and included a morning drive through heavenly Mount Desert Island. I made a friend in cool but quaint Portland and I saw forests, cliffs and ocean. It was all I’d hoped for and more.

Downtown Freeport, Maine, is basically an outlet mall, a very fancy, upscale outlet mall. It was there that I met my beloved Burberry scarf, a cashmere, blue and charcoal beauty. I purchased it at a small fraction of the full price to celebrate that I made it to Maine. Was it love at first sight? No, I had to call my best friend in London and ask his opinion between two, but after consulting, I knew it was my perfect match.

I wore that scarf for years and traveled the globe with it. I wore it when I drove the country last spring; I wore it from Berlin to Block Island, London to Las Cruces. It was my constant companion. I never once misplaced or lost it, not until this October in Los Angeles.

I don’t want to talk trash about L.A., because I love it there and I especially love my friends there. I would move there. It's tops. But one night on my last trip there, we ate a delicious dinner at The Bazaar and drank and chatted at Verdugo Bar, but because of my jet lag and from flying straight there from DC the week prior, something terrible happened. I remember a voice earlier in the night saying – I’ll hold your scarf, someone might steal it. And then someone did.

I don’t know when it happened, not the exact moment, at least. The scarf was my constant companion, so I didn't know what that lack felt like, that terrible, scarf-less existence. At one point, I did notice I wasn't wearing it, but thought I left it in my suitcase. After all the wasted attempts at searching, my hope waned, my faith fell away, I realized it was gone.

A minute ago, I saw a Burberry scarf online and I got a headache just thinking about my old trusty accoutrement. I know I get too attached to particular worldly possessions, but I’m not a Buddhist. Anyway, getting attached to something of quality saves me money, and therefore I am better able to love Mama Earth. I don't need hundreds of the same same item in different colors, I just need that one wonderful item. Less is more, amigos and amigas.

The theft of my scarf has put a genuine damper on my entire life. I beg you, if you see someone in the Los Angeles area wearing the scarf pictured below, please punch them in the face and get my scarf back. I will forever be in your debt.

That look is the sadness I felt because part of me knew that my love wasn't enough, and that one day, I would lose my favorite scarf.


Anonymous said...

I've heard about this unsupportive boyfriend. He's right up there with John Wayne Gacy!!! :^)

- Rog

alesh said...

OK, a few things.

1) I feel the tragedy. When something is perfect, it doesn't matter how small it is, and the pain of its loss is acute. Plus sometimes you can at least hope that maybe you loaned it to someone or something, and one day it'll come back, but in this case, despite the requisite plea, it seems unlikely that the scarf is coming back.

2) That said I am Unclear on the Details -- it sounds like there was drinking involved, and perhaps you handed the scarf off to someone voluntarily for what seemed like a good reason at the time? It seems like the crucial moment here is not being examined enough. I see where the main thrust of the piece is the sense of loss, but your readers naturally want to know what happened, and the treatment of that moment would be more satisfying if it were more detailed. Which brings me to my third point!:

3) If you were writing this piece for, say, the New Yorker (this would possibly entail a bit of fabrication, I'm thinking flipping the cities, so that LA has the negative associations and NY is the place you love but this one tragic thing happened, which -- i guess -- is the sort of truth-bending that goes on all the time in these sorts of features, integrity of experience be damned), you'd have an editor who'd say, let's see if we can expand this from 800 to maybe like around 2,500 words. Then you could really go through your state of mind on the night of, and throw in, i don't know, some history of the textile industry stuff, bring it back around to Jimmy Carter, and walk it home through a tour of hipster DUMBO bars. This may sound a bit far fetched, but personally I think it's just a matter of time before you are THERE.

Still avoiding reading anything about Avatar, most recently in The Awl.

EAT said...

Rog(er) - look at which sad song I attached to this. You like it.
I thought "unsupportive" was an accurate, undebatable adjective! Could you defend supportive? I couldn't.

Alesh -
1) My dad wanted to borrow this scarf once and I made him reassure me that he would not lose it and generally beg me for over a week. I basically told him I would die if he lost it, so I definitely didn't lend it out to anyone.

I accept that the scarf is gone, mostly. I still have that one sad fragment of hope.

2) I definitely wasn't drunk at the time, because I was driving in a city I didn't know, navigating with the GPS on my phone. I might have still been hungover from my brother's wedding 5 days earlier!

3) I like your ideas! I can fit Jimmy Carter in just about anything I write, flipping cities might be a challenge. I'm too honest, and definitely not New Yorker-there. I'm just here, feeling sorry for myself, as usual.

alesh said...

Oh, I get it. So, here's the pivotal sentence, right:

I remember a voice earlier in the night saying – I’ll hold your scarf, someone might steal it.

But it's ambiguous about the context. I read it as this surreal half-memory of something that may have been uttered or just mis-remembered, and the scarf may or may not have been handed over (hence my presumption that alcohol may have been involved?), and it's not clear if the person who said that is the person who's got the scarf, or if you're suspecting them, or if it's someone else entirely?

Obviously my mis-reading, but I think there's some potential to maybe even strengthen that ambiguity. Anyway, this ain't the New Yorker, nor is it a writing critique class. I'm getting worked up for nothin!

eldesaparecido said...

-Pours out some Riesling-

Anonymous said...

Maybe its on a boat on the way to Haiti. Alot of lost and found garments get donated towards relief efforts

nailsbyasians said...

i feel that same way with my current one. i really cant loose it. its been nippy up here. my mom got it for me for 13US. and it stands up real high, unlike other fabrics. i keep forgetting it and searching frantically constantly. but i have it again.

i have this account now cause i joined the grad seminar on globalization, and they made a blog forum so we could use to discuss things.

Liza said...

I know I get too attached to particular worldly possessions, but I’m not a Buddhist.

brilliant! (sorry about the scarf. bummer.)