I was on the phone with the cable gal when I realized what an idiot I can be. She asked for my debit card number and I drew a complete blank. This was a new card, my second in a year, and I hadn't had time to memorize the magical math that gets me stuff.
"Hold on a sec," I said, flipping through the stack of plastic in my vintage coin purse. Safeway Club card, business cards from when I had a real job, my non-driver's id, a long-ago expired Starbucks gift card, but no debit card.
"One more second," I yelled into the speaker phone as I ransacked the condo, flipping through the mail because maybe I tried to mail it? Then checking the back pockets of my walk-the-dog jeans. Then looking in the washing machine because I found a debit card in there once. Nothing.
"I'm going to have to call you back."
Checking my account to make sure no one had tried to make it rain with Metrocard points (that's happened twice) I retraced my steps through the neighbor, just in case a kind stranger decided to leave a shiny thing alone.
The women of Dunkin' Donuts (the last place I'd used my card) hadn't seen it. As I ran back down the street, throwing a "thanks" behind my back she yelled, "Cancel your card!" I've done that a total of maybe 10 times, probably once a year since I opened a real grownup checking account of my own in college.
I didn't want to give in. In order to prove that I'm not as air-headed as so much evidence would suggest, I convinced myself that the card would turn up somewhere, sorry it'd leapt from my pocket and ready to come home. There was lots of crap on the ground -- ketchup packets, condoms, empty Chilli Fritos bags and even a plate of brown rice -- but, of course, I didn't find the one thing I was looking for. And running through the streets in a sweltering sweat shirt didn't improve my mood. I had to admit defeat.
What bothered me most about the whole ordeal, which lasted less than an hour and resulted in me waiting for another card to be mailed -- was how often I've broken promises to myself. Every time I lose a card (anything important really) I tell myself, "This is it! This is the last time! I will be responsible and amazing from this day forward." And, well, you know how that story ends.
I've tried to take the last few debit-less days as a penance. I went to the bank once and am forcing myself to survive on the modest amount I took out, nothing more. It sucks, of course. No impulse buys or surprise middle of the day movie dates with myself. Instead I've been home working and eating leftovers instead of fancy salad. Womp.
Pretty soon, though, the familiar self-confidence will creep right back in. I'll get my new shiny plastic card and protect with Gollum-worthy obsession. But that vigilance will give way to carelessness eventually and I'll be right back where I started. Reminds me of when my mom used to pin important stuff into my clothes when I went away to summer camp too bad she doesn't anymore.
Am I the only one who'd forget her hair if it wasn't growing out of her head? Because I totally would.