LOST. AND FOUND?

This is a completely personal blogpost.  With no videos, for reasons that will become apparent.

The Beloved is experimenting with life in Northern California — an experiment I support with all my heart — and we had spent a month together, having a good time.  Yesterday, I left her with tears in our eyes, took a small suitcase and my red knapsack (more about the latter in a minute) and began what would be a long journey back to the New York suburb where I live.  A bus to an airplane to the Air Train to a cab to my car, which I had parked at a friend’s house.

But let us return to the red knapsack, because that — and its contents — are of the  greatest interest to JAZZ LIVES’ readers.  Inside it, I had packed my Panasonic HDC-HS700 video camera, which I have been delighting in since April 2010, the Rode external microphone, a half-dozen external batteries, an external hard drive, my iPod, my tripod . . . the tools by which I have been, I hope, spreading musical joy to the people who read this.  (And, yes, there are papers in the knapsack that have my name, address, and email.)

I was exhausted when I came to my car at 2 AM.  I slung the suitcase and the knapsack into the car’s trunk — the lid didn’t want to close, but I slammed it down, got in the car, and headed to my apartment, about twelve minutes away on a cold Sunday morning.  When I parked the car, I went back to the trunk to retrieve my precious stuff: but the lid of the trunk was open about six inches and the knapsack was not there.  I assume that had bounced out on a turn or a pothole.

I felt ill, got back into the car, and retraced my route.  No knapsack by the side of the road or at least none that I saw in the darkness.  When I woke up this morning, I did the route once again with the same results.

I feel many emotions at this point.  Hopeful — will the phone ring and someone ask for me and say, “Did you lose something?”  And I will say, “Yes, that would be me,” and begin writing a reward check for some person’s loving honesty.  Bereft — I carried that knapsack to Whitley Bay, to Chautauqua, to The Ear Inn, to many places in California and . . . .  And in some way, I think, “Those are my things, my tools, with which I have recorded and made permanent the irreplaceable sounds!”  But I also know they are just THINGS.  Things can, with inconvenience and money, be replaced.

I also bleakly can envision a truck running over the knapsack with a loud crunch of metal and plastic . . .

I am trying very hard to ward off the Second Arrow — a most useful spiritual metaphor.  If you trip over a table and hurt your shin, that is the First Arrow.  If you immediately turn on yourself and snarl, “What kind of dumbass trips over a table?” you have taken your own hand and stuck the Second into yourself.  I had sixteen bars of “You should have locked the trunk; you should have been more careful,” but as far as I know, sitting in front of this computer calling myself names will not hasten the knapsack’s return.

“Gee, that’s awful,” some of you might be saying.  “But why is Michael writing this?  Is this an appeal for money?”  NO.  Most assuredly not.

I am writing this for reasons I don’t entirely understand myself: sometimes putting something in print makes it endurable.  But mostly I am asking my readers to help me out in intangible ways.  I think we all — whether we are dancing, on the treadmill, making quinoa, sitting on the couch — generate certain kinds of energy.  “May your happiness increase” as part of every blogpost is my effort to send a certain kind of energy to everyone.

I would like everyone who has ever enjoyed JAZZ LIVES to imagine a good outcome to this freakish story.  The easiest outcome to imagine is that my phone rings and there is a happy reunion between Myself and the Red Knapsack.  Another outcome is that someone finds the knapsack and keeps its contents to video someone (s)he loves.  I can envision that.  Or even if it ends up being sold, that the money makes someone happier than before — my accident brings someone aid and comfort.

Would my readers be willing to send swinging joy through the world — thinking of my Red Knapsack and Me?  It surely can’t hurt.  “Prayer” sounds too religious for me, and there are certainly people and situations who need it more than I do.  But if we are asked at a performance of PETER PAN to keep Tinkerbell from dying, and we do it, and it works, why not in the jazz world?

I thank you for reading this.  And I will keep you informed.

May your happiness increase.

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35 responses to “LOST. AND FOUND?

  1. Good luck. I do hope it materializes.

  2. Judy Quehl (Sadowsky)

    So sorry to read this news! But I am thinking good thoughts of you and your red knapsack. Good Luck Michael!
    Cheers
    Judy Quehl

  3. Nancie Beaven

    Sending positive vibrations to the universe that you and your red knapsack shall be reunited!!!! And, of course, hugs to you!

  4. I read this with increasing alarm and a sunken feeling that is all too familiar to those of us who have lost something precious and meaningful to us. I remember when someone took my camera case which held my brand new Minolta, several lens and attachments. The loss of the camera and attachments was devastating but bearable, the loss of several cans of exposed film can never be replaced. We may never know what happened to your red back pack, but if the world has any balance in it at all, someone will recover it and it will be posted to New York to wind up in your most deserving and capable hands. All of my energy has been directed to make it so. Do not take on the responsibility of the loss as your personal burden, perhaps you were a little hasty in packing the trunk of the car, I will bet that most of us have felt that and done that ourselves. It is only a devious quirk of fate that -maybe, just maybe- did not latch the trunk lid securely….. it is only another that did not allow you to find the backpack when you back tracked. I want to believe that some Samaritan saw it and you will be holding it in your arms once again very soon. If this is not the scenario, then maybe it is the turning point that will allow you to come back bigger and better with another set of tools in your arsenal and the quest to capture and preserve the wonderful musical happenings for the future will continue unabated. Here is, with love, my powerful hope that all will be well, sent to you with a few jazzy hugs to use when needed.

  5. Sending love and hope your way, dear friend…

  6. I’m really sorry to hear this Michael. At the end of 2012 I lost my bike and sunglasses and both found their way back to me through good luck and ‘careful planning’. My bike was the real kicker and it came back to me as a result of a tag with my name and number attached to the frame. Fingers crossed your details on that piece of paper will be all that’s needed. By the way, it took 10 days for the return of the bike even though it was discovered quite quickly. Best of luck mate.

  7. Robert D. Rusch

    On the other hand one door closed lens les out of necessity another to open

    Maybe to the same direction but updated Reading this I had the sinking feeling of where it was leading Waking up gets better Cheers rdr

    Sent from my iPad

  8. Thats really unfortunate that that happened but your attitude about is very inspiring! …”Or even if it ends up being sold, that the money makes someone happier than before — my accident brings someone aid and comfort.” This world needs more Michael Steinmans!!! :-D

  9. There are other cameras and mics – and Red Knapsacks, too – but there’s only one Michael Steinman. (Tinkerbell agrees.) Love you, Michael.

  10. Dear Michael, Everyone will have a story like yours with happy endings, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for the best outcome. John Scurry had a similar experience a couple of years ago when a valuable vintage guitar fell out of his trunk (“boot” in Australia) on the way home from a reunion of the Red Onions Jazz Band. After a plea on morning radio, John and his guitar were reunited. Come home red knapsack!

  11. Sandy Leaman - Australia

    Michael,
    What awful luck. Our positive thoughts are with you, and e hope that you and your red knapsack and its contents are reunited soon. Thinking of you.

  12. Bummer! Big bummer, Michael. Hard to believe, nevertheless, the trunk is the culprit. Have you considered suing the car maker? I’m hoping the storage device with all the digital data and the papers, including those with your name and address, will eventually find their way back to you. We’ve all had similar, so we know and share your pain. Love, TO

  13. Michael, it is always darkest before the dawn. Best, Jim

  14. Dear Michael,
    Just reading your words brought on that feeling of sickening realization we’ve all experienced at one time or another, the realization that something terrible has happened, and we can’t change it. The brakes squeal and the car crashes. Our mother answers the phone and we know by her face that it’s bad news. Then we ask, “Why?”

    Imagine the possible reasons. Maybe someone found it and discovered this music you love and will return it, along with their devoted readership of your blog. Maybe that person was a sanitation worker who found it in a garbage can, or a child walking down the sidewalk who showed his parents. Maybe a homeless man traded it for food. Maybe a space ship landed and picked it up and right now aliens are scratching their hairless little heads over “all that jazz.”

    Maybe you were meant to get a newer, better camera. Of course the sad thing is the loss of those musical experiences you had captured and wanted to share.

    Perhaps the message, the hidden “gift” in all of this, is the reminder that we need to fully engage in special moments as we live them, because that engagement and the memory of how we felt then is all we truly have. Even the best recording, video or audio, cannot accurately recreate the full essence of those moments.

    If my comments sound too “woo woo” just remember that “woo woo” (or maybe “wooooo woooooo”) is also the lonely sound of a distant train hurtling through the night to who knows where. The fact that we can’t see it doesn’t mean it is any less real or significant to the travelers inside. We’re all travelers. So is your knapsack. I just wish the camera was turned on and still recording the adventure.

  15. My prayers are with you, Michael.

  16. Very sorry to read this post Michael. Best wishes for a positive outcome…..

  17. I believe in you!

  18. Janie McCue Lynch

    Well, I don’t have any magic words….and I know you are not seeking same. And I know there isn’t anything that I can say that you haven’t already said. THAT being said….well, DAMN it all to HELL, that just SUCKS! And THAT professional utterance having been uttered….I guess the only way I know how to deal with things like this is to acknowledge the situation, and affirm the negative feelings, FEEL those feelings, lick those painful wounds for as long as you need to, and then…..decide what you want to do. Perhaps step back for a bit and take a rest….literally, some respite? Just BE. The music will still be out there for you, Michael, whenever you are ready to slip into it again. Step by step. You are loved and valued….

  19. A sad, sad tale, Michael. Like you (it seems), I’m not religious, so I shan’t be praying. But I’m certainly thinking about you and – who knows? – maybe those good vibes will help in some mysterious way. Meanwhle, I join with many others in wishing you well and thanking you for a great blog and an invaluable service.

    PS: I recently thought my collection of Louis CDs had gone missing and was distraught for a couple of days. They eventually turned up, with the result that I’m now playing them again with renewed appreciation.

  20. latineloquor67

    Good luck! Sursum corda!

  21. Jeanie Wilson

    I am thinking good thoughts for you, Michael… and I hope your Red Knapsack will be returned by some kind hearted stranger who perhaps is destined to meet you. Breathe deeply, think positive thoughts and know that those of us who read your blog daily really appreciate you and what you do. So call on us if you need us.

  22. Dear Michael, How my heart heaves at the thought of your monumental mishap. And now guilt comes creeping in as well, as two years ago, (I think when it was just launched) I purchased the identical camera. BUT I’VE HARDLY USED IT! Even though I had had a doodle or two on it and been staggered by the clarity of the results, by plugging it directly into a 40′ HD TV. I updated all my gear at the same time the Mac, camera and TV. I keep waiting for an opportunity to get it out and about, and now having read of your anguished loss has made me decide NOW IS THE TIIME> I can then ask my grandson how to upload the finished products etc etc and fully join the modern world. (I’ve had nearly a year out as I had an aortic aneurism spotted in June and was whipped into hospital end of June. 4 and a half hours and 42 industrial staples later and all was done and dusted. Not too good for blowing up a storm though for a few months, but all is OK now. Trust you and the Beloved are both well. Better wishes for 2013, on the losses side,

    With warm regards, Carl

  23. Ouch…. I’ll gladly clap for Tinkerbell all that you think it will help. (As an aside, for fear of lost hard drives such as these, I use an online service that backs up my local disks…. ping me if you would like details.)

  24. A very sad day indeed. I hope this backpack finds it’s way back to you.

  25. rochelle161@rogers.com

    Hi Michael
    I hope you found your possessions. Please let us know
    Best Rochelle and Ray
    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  26. I promise a big happy blog if that happens . . . if the subject never comes up again, you will know the answer. Cheers back, Michael

  27. However unlikely, I hope your stuff finds its way back to you, and if not, I hope you will be able to acquire new stuff that fulfils its function.

  28. Maybe not such a bad idea to have willing and able appreciators of this blog to take up a collection (easy to do if you have a PayPal account) towards replacement gear.

    Maybe this poses an opportunity for people to express their appreciation for what you post here.

  29. I’m sending every kindness and all good thoughts for a reunion with the Red Knapsack!!

  30. Dearest Michael, I am sure no words can ease the suffering you have no doubt endured. As a fellow photographer, I feel the pain (agony is more appropriate since you lost so much at once). I will send out my strongest good vibes in hopes you will get word from some kind soul very soon. Love and hugs, Nancy.

  31. Dan Morgenstern

    Did you get it back?? Hoping there still are honest folk….but if not, so sorry! Dan

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