A scavenger hunt postponed


Person I know had been planning a scavenger hunt for months.

It was meant to be a birthday surprise for her significant other. Involved many of the places that were important to their relationship. First date. Favorite restaurant. Add to list with similar thoughts. Neat idea.

Whole thing got trashed by the stay at home, wear a mask and keep the min-blinds closed lockdown.

(Writer’s note: That’s a joke. Trying to be funny about something that’s fundamentally not that funny when you recognize we’ve all been working hard at just surviving. So, sincerely… you stay strong, productive, and do your best to be happy. Check on your neighbors. Best wishes to your family. Wash your hands and wear a mask. For yourself, for me, and for all of us. Be a good person, smart and responsible. Thank you. Back to our story.)

Once the restaurants were closed, the ability to talk to management and arrange for a clue to be placed at the exact table where they first dined became a bit more impossible than difficult. Spread that out across several stops and several clues, and, for a scavenger hunt style weekend challenge filled with multiple marks on the map… yeah, you see it… a lot more impossible to pull off.

Her story fascinated me though.

I mean, we’ve all heard the generic inconveniences and troubles in the basic things. Some big. Some small. Almost all of them are commonly shared. Going to the store. Ordering food.

This one was specific and personal. It was individualized, not immediately shared by many others that I could identify, and yet had a deep significance of sorts. It mattered, even though I had absolutely zero to gain from the effort or results.

Most of us like the happy ending stories, yes? We all want Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan to get to the Empire State Building, right?

Well… first we need to acknowledge that there are also people that when it comes to Hanks and Ryan, they’re cheering for the volcano.

(That there is another joke. Should anyone decide to bring this to the attention of Hanks and/or Ryan, understand I have a kind place in my memories for both movies. You keep up the good work. Stay safe. (And wear your masks.) Anyway…)

There are things that matter to us. Things that, for better or worse, can change our schedules, plans, and outlook on any day. And then…

…then there are those things that we are aware of, but honestly don’t matter to us much at all.

The trick is when one of those doesn’t matter moments actually does have us looking at it and thrilled, impressed, or at least casually interested in the result.

Orangutan and dog becoming friends? Great stuff. To date, however, I have never needed to know any information about how to introduce an orangutan to a dog for personal use.

But I find these moments to be heartwarming in a way. Real and authentic might be good adjectives for them. Individualized moments that capture and convey something necessary for the larger whole to have true meaning.

There’s an old saying we’ve all heard about taking time to appreciate the roses. The true gift in the idea is learning what parts of the saying are literal and what parts are figurative.

Once you do, I promise you’ll find a lot more satisfaction from many areas of your life. If not because they create the special events that sparkle beyond the routine daily grind, but rather because they make sense of scavenger hunt you won’t be heading out to complete.

(And when you go out, remember your mask. Thank you.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com