For all the information the hassled airline agent was willing to share with me as to why our flight was cancelled it might just as well have been because of rogue butterfly flitterings.
Anyway, Tom, Tommy and I were relegated to replacement flights, and though we were all originally on the same flight home, we were now given different itineraries: mine was a 12-hour trip starting with a 12:15 am red-eye out of L.A. with a layover in Philadelphia, theirs a 14-hour trip with a 9:55 pm flight from L.A. and a longer lay-over than mine in Philly.
Consequently, though happy campers we were not especially, - if I'm going to be bumped from my flight I expect some swag from the airline in return - this did mean we had unexpected extra day to spend at Maria and Justin's house in Los Angeles.
But then if we hadn't had almost a dozen extra hours to kill, Tom and I wouldn't have decided to go for a walk. We wouldn't have decided on a hike to downtown Manhattan Beach via Veteran's Parkway, a walking and biking trail that meanders through the local flora and fauna, palm trees, purple-flowering ice plants, bright rose-colored bougainvillea, birds of paradise, low-growing trees with strange convoluted limbs, and flowering ground-cover blooming in yellows and oranges.
And if my camera had been tucked safe away in my bag stowed under a seat on the flight I was supposed to be on at that moment, then I wouldn't have taken it out of said bag to snap shots of Veteran's Parkway and Manhattan Beach, none of which, you'll notice, are posted here.
Because I lost my camera.
I lost it sometime between the last shot I took on the trail and the moment, about 20 minutes after returning home, I reached into my pocket for my camera and realized it wasn't there. Nor was it in my purse or in any of the nooks and crannies of my daughter's house that Tom and Tommy were soon scouring with me.
Tom and I drove back to Manhattan Beach. We search the parking lot next to the trail and backtracked along the trail, much farther back even from where I remembered taking my last shot.
When we returned home Tom called the Manhattan Beach police to report my lost camera.
"I'm sure the police sent out an All Points Bulletin on your missing $90 camera," Maria joked, though after she and Justin returned home from work with the children they, too, joined in the search.
As for me, I looked and looked and looked some more . I searched the house, looking in places I hadn't even been with the camera, three times I searched the car we'd driven to the trail, Tom searched it twice, Maria searched it once.
And then it hit me that my camera was gone. That little metallic pink box that for the last two-and-a half years has never been far from my hand, that was like an extension of my hand and of my eyes, that I grabbed a dozen times a day to capture and save every image that caught my eye, was gone. I missed my camera immediately.
But I missed it only for the sake of the shots that were getting away without it, and those that would continue to get away before I could replace it with a new one. I needed a new one, anyway, there was something wrong with the lens on my current camera. My formerly current camera.
What I lamented was not the loss of the camera but the loss all the pictures stored on the memory card in the camera. All the pictures and blog material from this trip, gone. All my over 3,000 pictures dating from last summer until now, gone. Most of all I regretted losing the pictures I'd taken this past week of my grand daughters .
I consoled myself with the same truth I tried to impress upon my children when they were young: any material thing can be lost, but then no material thing is all that important. Those pictures were gone. I wouldn't let myself think about them. I'd take more.
And yet I just kept thinking about my camera with the precious memory card inside: Where was my camera? In whose hands? Did someone pick it up off the ground along the trail? Was someone looking at my pictures at that moment?
And I kept ruminating over the thought that if only my plane hadn't been cancelled then I wouldn't have lost my camera.
But mostly I kept trying to imagine where in the world my camera might be.
Amazingly, the next day as soon I arrived home from Los Angeles I found out.
To be continued...