Welcome to the lost and floundering

My idea of fun doesn’t include losing my wallet. It disappeared a few weeks ago.

Once we finally gave up the search, I bought a new wallet. It was oddly freeing— a fresh start. When I opened my old wallet you never knew what might fall out—gift cards, car wash coupons, random receipts and, on rare occasions, even money.

Now I can open my new wallet and know precisely what is in it. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No credit card, no driver’s license, no insurance card, no Costco card, no library card, not even a trace of lint.

I notified all the credit card companies and even closed a few accounts permanently. The other credit card companies, the ones I still wanted cards from, promised to send new cards in a few weeks.

My next stop was a new driver’s license. I looked up the requirements for identification, found my passport and birth certificate and headed to the BMV. The wait wasn’t long and the clerk was cheerful. She was sympathetic to the story about my missing wallet. She zipped through the paperwork with amazing speed and said, “That will be $10.50.” I only had four one-dollar bills, so I handed her one of my husband’s credit cards that I had been using.

“I can’t accept this, it doesn’t have your name on it.”

“But it is an account I share with my husband. We both have cards to the same account.”

“Don’t you have any credit cards with your name on them?”

“I have a number of them – they’re in my wallet, the one that’s missing, along with my driver’s license.”

She gave me a look and called the next number.

On the walk out, I thought of the man they made a movie about who was stranded 17 years in the Charles de Gaulle Airport. He had the right paperwork to get in, but he didn’t have the right paperwork to get out.

It was a classic Catch-22, like the first furniture we bought after we were married. We had settled on a table and six chairs from a local furniture store. We wanted to charge it so we could establish credit. The store said they couldn’t extend us credit because we hadn’t established credit.

It’s like applying for a job to get some experience, but nobody wants to hire you because you don’t have experience.

It’s like the people who go around chirping, “You have to spend money to make money.” They never acknowledge that you need money before you can spend money.

I still didn’t have a driver’s license, credit cards or insurance cards, but I had four bucks in my new and much lighter wallet and wasn’t a prisoner in an airport or at the BMV.

And that is the key to happiness—remembering that when it’s bad, it can always be worse.

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