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Burgers and Goodwill

A pleasant day ended with a half eaten burger staring at me miserably. It gave me an accusatory look, oozing mustard. I suddenly couldn’t remember why I was there. The last few weeks were a blur. I had left her behind, and wandered aimlessly across a continent. Eventually I found myself in a desert town, eating an oversized cheeseburger. God it was depressing. A fly buzzed around my head, before settling on the rim of my glass of cola. Somewhere a radio was coughing sleazy guitar strings between bouts of static. Usually I love travel, but in that moment I hated it. I hated feeling so alone. I sat my head on the bar and groaned.

And I looked down and my camera bag was gone.

At first I couldn’t believe it. I hauled myself out of my groggy self pity and looked around. I’d never lost anything while travelling. I felt a little panic budding in my chest. I rushed to the street- nothing. I started asking people around me if they’d seen anything. Nope.

This is where I had my freakout. I have a bit of a love affair with my camera. It’s an appendage of self expression; losing it was like waking up to find an arm missing. I started running around, looking in shops, up the road, back and forth. Of course I knew it was hopeless, but I didn’t know what else to do. As people became aware of me, they started helping. One by one people in the shops stopped what they were doing. A waitress threw down a teatowel and started shouting for the police. A burly fisherman type dropped his orange juice and started yelling, coaxing others. Within minutes the whole street was in an uproar. Mobs of teenagers where marching around, checking every corner for my bag. Half eaten meals were abandoned. Soon the carabineros arrived, and I was taken on a tour of the town, and told to look for anything suspicious on the streets. Nothing caught my eye, and of course, I never got my camera back. But after that I didn’t feel so alone.

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