Yesterday, the wind swept the plot for a short story I’m planning to write out of my office window. I saw the A4 sheet, so white in the sun, turn a couple of times and then it was gone.
Two hours later, working day done, I flip-flopped down the stairs and out on Gorgie Road to look for it.
I checked our parking lot. I walked a block that way, and then back again on the other side of the street, looking over walls and into people’s front gardens. For possibly the first time since I moved here, I really looked at the houses and streets around me. I looked at people too, in case my sheet had stuck to their backs. People were walking home, enjoying the warmth and sunshine. Neatly arranged pots showed the pride some people take in their front gardens. There are flowers in the grass around here as well as discarded bottles.
I walked a block the other way, and back again. Then I walked around the corner. And there it was.
In the gutter, under a crisp packet, a little torn but not in much worse condition than when the wind took it, I found my plot.
I picked it up, read it, laughed when I realised I didn’t need it and carefully carried it back inside.
I learned three things from this experience. One: don’t keep paperwork on the windowsill when the window’s open. Two: keep notes in digital form, or make sure they are written on something heavy, like a notebook. Three: sometimes the process of looking is more valuable than the thing you’re looking for.