Losing My Wallet, Finding Myself

This is how dense I am.

It was the end of the work day and I realized my wallet was gone. Again. That temperature-rising-in-the-armpits feeling that my wallet was gone. Not in my pants pockets. Not in my jacket. Not anywhere on my desk or in my office. Not on the ledge of the urinal on the 15th floor. Gone. Again.

My wallet
The wallet is/was one of those paper contraptions made by the mighty wallet company. A couple of years ago I carried the  New York subway map version, and now have/had the passport design. If nothing else, they are conversation starters, and losing them is less dear that losing a nice leather wallet.

But the wallet was missing, along with all my bank cards and my trusted Edmonton Bicycle Commuters membership card. But don't panic. That's what Shelagh would say. Panic impairs vision. Hemingway said something similar.

So, I thought about it. Thought hard. Really bore down and realized the last time I knew I had the wallet was about 90 minutes previous at the McDonald's at Commerce Place. (That is not what I mean by how dense I am. Keep reading.) So, back it was on foot to Commerce Place.

I phoned Shelagh to break the news. I was actually a little pleased that I hadn't lost my phone. She didn't see it that way. To her credit, Shelagh withstood any temptation to remind me that I had lost a wallet at Commerce Place last August or September, an observation I would have immediately and effectively parried by pointing out that on that occasion I had left the wallet on top of the car and driven away. This time I was on foot. Shelagh, whatever. :)

Bringing me back into the tense of the present, however, my good wife pointed out that my parkade pass was also in my wallet and that meant I wouldn't be able to get back in, when the building locked,  to get the car, which Mikey might need this weekend (for more on Shelagh and Mikey and cars, click here), and that I should head back and find a work colleague who could passcard me into the garage. That way, we wouldn't be down a wallet and a car. She would check with the McDonald's and Commerce Place security to see if a paper wallet had been turned in. Or turned into origami.

I got the car, but no luck on the wallet, despite a brief but completely impossible thought it might be on the roof of the vehicle. So, she cancelled my debit and credit card. Then I cancelled my company credit card. We then met up at the Y, where we were going to go to a stretch class, a plan that changed when the wallet disappeared.

Happy (I was) with how quickly we managed to cancel the cards, I decided to give the Commerce Place food court a look. Did my wallet slip out of my pocket and could it be on the floor? The court was closed and gated off, but a kind woman cleaning up let me in. Not on the table, not on the floor.

And then the cymbal clash proof of how dense I am: I started rooting around in the garbage container by my table. I actually found my cold greasy McDonald's bag and there, in it, along with a couple of fries and a third pounder wrapper, was my wallet! As soon as I got my arms out of the garbage, I punched the air in triumph.

And then I started thinking. Sure, I threw my own wallet in the garbage, but I knew it. I knew I was capable of doing it. And I was right. I was that dense.

"Alex," I told our eldest son, a classics student at the University of Alberta, "I might be stupid, but I know how stupid I am and you can't say the same thing about you."

"That's kinda like Socrates," he deadpanned.

All my cards are safe and accounted for. No fraudulent purchases on them. And I know only that I owe nothing.

Not so dense, after all.


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