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Check for your belongings on trains, too!

Check for your belongings on trains, too!

Old Oct 16th, 2015, 10:22 AM
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Check for your belongings on trains, too!

A cautionary tale:

You know those ubiquitous announcements on planes we all ignore, like how to fasten your seat belt? And to check you have all your belongings before getting off? They have the same check for your belongings message on trains in northern Europe, but not in Spain, and seems they should.

I boarded the Barcelona to Vigo ALVIA in Pamplona early this afternoon. Wasn't sure I was in the right (Preferente) coach, and then on the floor by what I thought was my seat was a small over-stuffed shoulder bag and a Fodors guide to Barcelona.... I figured the person in the aisle seat had taken over the window seat while it was empty, and had gone for lunch. She couldn't have got off the train without her handbag, could she?

After a while it was clear she could and had. When the conductor eventually came back through I showed him an explanation on the Translate app on my phone, and he took custody of the bag and book. But my blood was running cold at the thought of what might be in it. (No, I didn't seriously think it was a bomb.) Camera? Phone? Money? Credit cards? ATM cards?? Passport???

I keep most of my valuables in a money belt, and I don't carry a handbag when I'm actually traveling - one rolling case and one day pack - but I made extra sure my iPad, phone and wallet were where they should be before I got off the train!
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 10:44 AM
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And you just know this belonged to a woman, right? How?
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 10:56 AM
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Dukey1 - it was probably very obviously a woman's style of bag.

I do hope the owner gets reunited with it!
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 11:02 AM
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Yikes. What a nightmare (for her).
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 11:23 AM
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I sure hope she gets her things back. I go through a counting routine when I change locations, cars, buses, trains, ferries and planes, checking each bag, phone etc. It can happen so easily when rushing.
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 01:00 PM
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Thanks for the timely warning, thursdaysd. She must be in such a stew.

I hope that she is re-united with her belongings soon.
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 01:53 PM
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@Dukey1:

1. It was an American guidebook. How many American men have you known to carry any kind of handbag?

2. Why did you assume that "she" referred specically to a female person, rather than generically to a person of any gender?

@Others:

As best I remember, I had to provide a fair amount of info when booking my RENFE ticket online - passport number, even. Of course, if the ticket had been bought from a machine at a station, less info would be required. (Which is odd, now I think about it!) Depending on what was in the bag, the owner might be easy to identify.
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 02:00 PM
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<Why did you assume that "she" referred specically to a female person, rather than generically to a person of any gender?>

huh?
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 02:06 PM
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@suze - "specically" should have read "specifically". Dukey1 assumed that when I wrote "she" I meant a female person. No reason "she" should not refer to a person of any gender, just as "he" does. I sometimes use it that way when I don't know the gender of an OP.
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Old Oct 16th, 2015, 05:41 PM
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OMG, that poor woman! She is fortunate that thursdaysd -- who took responsible steps to put them into appropriate hands -- is the one who found them. Thanks for the warning, thursdaysd, and thanks for your sensible action!
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 01:57 AM
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"No reason "she" should not refer to a person of any gender, just as "he" does."

surely this is PC gone mad
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 03:53 AM
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»surely this is PC gone mad«

I agree. Until the moment shoulder bags have become a gender neutral accessory, it's quite natural to assume the owner is a woman.
And, unless I'm out of tune with the times, it's new to me to hear that »she« can be used as a gender neutral personal pronoun. For reasons one can deplore »he« is the neutral and »she« the specific term.
But the topic was the lost shoulder bag with possibly essential personal belongings...
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 05:33 AM
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Dukey1 assumed that when I wrote "she" I meant a female person. No reason "she" should not refer to a person of any gender, just as "he" does. I sometimes use it that way when I don't know the gender of an OP.>>

indeed thursdaysd. in [english] law the masculine implies the feminine, and singular the plural, unless otherwise stated. No reason at all why the reverse should not apply.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 08:30 AM
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"unless I'm out of tune with the times, it's new to me to hear that »she« can be used as a gender neutral personal pronoun."

IIRC, there was a push, in the early days of feminism, to use "he" and "she" in alternation when referring to a person of unspecified gender.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 09:06 AM
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IIRC, there was a push, in the early days of feminism, to use "he" and "she" in alternation when referring to a person of unspecified gender.>>

and why not? I was expected to tolerate being referred to as "Sir" by my clerk in my first year of training to be a barrister but I can't imagine any man being expected to be called "Ma'am" or "Madam" in a female dominated profession.

what's sauce for the goose....
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 09:17 AM
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I was simply turning the tables on Dukey. He implied I was sexist by assuming the handbag belonged to a woman. I implied he was sexist by assuming "she" was not a gender neutral pronoun.
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 09:35 AM
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not sure about law (while Mrs Bibo and Ann both make their money in the law, let's face it "the donkey that is the law is no-basis for argument" which I think was OW Holmes only he didn't use the word donkey) or the upper confines of out-dated clerks, but it=(non-gender specific), he=male (gender specific), she=female (gender specific), if you want to discuss gender specifics without clarifying the gender then you use he/she.

Not sure what gender a handbag should be, but I'm going with non-gender specific, cause I've met enough men carrying very large wallets with straps to know that a handbag is a handbag often refered to as it.

Does anyone else feel this is all getting a bit Oscar Wilde?

"A Handbag, .... 'rising inflection'!"
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 09:41 PM
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I used to teach college-level English, and I did teach that students could alternate "he" and "she" for pronouns on their essays if they didn't want to constantly use "s/he." I emphasized, though, that if they didn't include at least ONE of each gender pronoun, they would be guilty of sexist prose and penalized.

And, yes, men have been carrying "handbags" in Europe for decades. Yes, you could see them as a wallet-on-a-strap, but it's essentially a handbag. I love them and have one made by Bally that I bought in the 1980s.

I'm a woman and also spent about 17 years being called an "Artilleryman" in the Army so am sensitive about language labels.

s
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Old Oct 17th, 2015, 10:31 PM
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I've seen those "wallet on a strap" man bags. This was not one of those. And, as I said, it was a Fodors guidebook, so almost certainly belonged to an American. I did wonder whether it might belong to a poster, I'll be keeping an eye on Spanish TRs.
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Old Oct 18th, 2015, 12:45 AM
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<<it was a Fodors guidebook, so almost certainly belonged to an American.>> I'm not American and I possess several Fodors guidebooks. And it's nothing to do with this forum as I had the books well before joining it.
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