A couple of weeks ago I found a lost checkbook. I had just set out for my early morning run (6:00 or so), and the item in question was on the sidewalk with various bits of debris surrounding it: business cards, expired insurance cards, a crumpled booklet of postage stamps, half of them used. Litter bothers me, so I stopped to pick everything up and set the pile of checks and old business cards on a retaining wall. Should I leave it there, I wondered? Turn it in to the bar? Bring it home and track down the owner?
Once I'd run my loop and was on my return home, I decided the best thing to do was bring the checkbook home and try to locate the owner. Though most of the insurance cards were long expired, she (there was one name on the checks, female) had written a few checks with recent dates and I figured she would want her stuff back.
I looked her up and called the number and left a message. I heard nothing for four days. Four days. Now, I know that checks are an outdated mode of monetary transaction for most people, but they certainly are handy for self-employed individuals (like myself) who don't take credit cards (who pays an accompanist or piano teacher with a credit card??) and anyway, checks have things like bank routing numbers on them, so it's not good for them to leave your possession.
When she finally called me, the Checkbook Lady was only vaguely grateful that I had tracked her down. She claimed to have had a family emergency of some sort; "I don't even know where I've been the last week!" she told me. Uh-huh, I thought. I found your stuff scattered all over the sidewalk in front of a bar. I don't really care to know more. I didn't say that out loud, though. I just gave her my address and told her she could pick up her stuff on my front porch whenever it was convenient for her. She stopped by while I was out, so I never met her.
Lest you think I'm a truly benevolent human being, don't jump to conclusions. I kept the postage stamps.