Sunday, July 13th, 2008 • 2 Comments on And So It Goes
My wallet was stolen on Thursday. I’ve repeated that phrase several dozen times in the past few days and I still can’t really wrap my mind around it. My wallet was stolen out of my purse while I was in the cafe at Barnes & Noble. I had wanted a change of scenery for my writing day. Big mistake.
I know the time frame when it happened and two possible ways it happened. That still doesn’t make it any easier to understand. Truth is, I didn’t really believe my wallet had been stolen until I got home and had a message from my bank asking me to call them about unusual activity on my account. Then, all of the other possibilities became wishful thinking: That I dropped it somewhere in the bookstore and someone would return it. That I left it at the counter at the cafe and the barista I spoke to didn’t realize a coworker had put it in back. That I put it in my messenger bag and—even though I dumped my bag out twice—I somehow missed it. That, even if it had been stolen, the thieves were only after the cash and my wallet would be recovered. No, none of those happened. Someone reached into my purse, took my wallet and went shopping. They did some serious shopping, too—ten thousand dollars worth—and had probably already dumped my credit cards (along with everything else) long before my banks and credit card companies put blocks on the cards.
I’m still working to resolve what I can. Everything was in that wallet—multiple IDs, credit cards, debit cards, $80 (more than I usually carry, but I’m going on a trip soon and tucked it away for expenses), even my (I know, I know) social security card. It will take some time to replace what can be replaced and change account numbers, update bill pay information, etc. I’ll also be checking my credit reports regularly to make sure my identity isn’t stolen, as well. I don’t have the luxury of telling myself, “That won’t happen.” The cash is just a loss, as is the cost to replace my driver’s license—I naively believed that if you had a driver’s license stolen it would be replaced for free. I had some things in my wallet that can’t be replaced—movie ticket stubs for recent movies I’ve seen (I’ve been collecting my ticket stubs since I was a teenager) along with a free movie ticket; a couple of pictures and notes; a couple of gift cards with a few dollars left on each; a calling card Jay and I have been using for at least ten years that has time left on it; probably a few things I won’t remember until I go looking for them.
The thing is, I really don’t care about the credit cards or even the ID. It’s a hassle, but those things can be replaced. Yeah, I have good credit and obviously I have enough credit to make for a thief’s dream shopping spree. They bought nicer stuff than I own—hell, the sum total of their loot is about twice what my car is worth. I don’t care much about things or I wouldn’t have had any credit they could steal. I blame myself—I was careless, I carry too much stuff in my wallet, I trust people. Maybe that last one is the biggest problem. The one thing I can’t replace and will miss the most after this experience is the belief that people are basically good. Once upon a time, I would have gladly argued that point until I was hoarse. Now, I’m not so sure what I believe. Two things I’ve heard a lot in the past few days are, “Don’t take it personally.” and “It happens all the time.” Is that really the world I live in? Wow. Where have I been?
I withdrew some cash from the bank on Friday (using my passport for ID) and bought a few things. The first thing I bought was my new driver’s license—I look sad in the picture, I think. I went to Target and bought a new wallet—it’s exactly like the one that was stolen, just a different color. I bought some peanuts for the squirrels, bananas for the raccoons, some comfort chocolate for myself. The only things in my new wallet right now are my shiny new driver’s license with the sad-looking picture and fifteen dollars and some change. My purse is lighter, for the moment. My heart is another story.