Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How I Lost My Wallet...And My MIND (Dun Dun DUN!)

THERE it is! On my blog!
(Spoiler alert: I did find my wallet.)

Yesterday morning I was going through my usual routine of having to perform a half-hour's worth of tasks in 10 minutes, and at the last minute I couldn't find my wallet.

I'd been running myself particularly ragged the past couple of weeks, what with Mrs. The Anthony Show finishing school and taking Father Of The Anthony Show to and from Mount Sinai and cranking through my rare but coveted freelance editing assignment, so the morning was particularly blurry.

I was groggier than usual because in the middle of the night, my daughter wandered into my bed (Mrs. The Anthony Show had fallen asleep on the couch while researching one of her final papers) because she'd had a bad dream. In the morning I asked her what the dream was about, and she replied, "The Leapster."

Lest you think she was talking about some kind of hipster ogre with thick calf muscles, this is a Leapster:

Avert your gaze!
Finally, I was still sore from the workout I got the previous evening from operating my manual no-gas-or-electric reel mower on my football-field back yard, a gadget I'll discuss pretty soon.

In short, I was barely awake when I was performing my morning chores, which include (usually in this order):
  • Showering
  • Dressing
  • Microwaving Daughter's first waffle
  • Asking Son which juice (grape/apple/cranberry/orange) juice he wants
  • Preparing Daughter's orange juice (she almost always wants orange juice, so I never ask)
  • Microwaving Daughter's second waffle
  • Asking Son again which juice he wants because he didn't answer me the first time
  • Microwaving Son's mini-pancakes
  • Apologize to frightened Son for yelling
  • Preparing Son's juice
  • Sliding my netbook into its protective sleeve and into my backpack, which I should have done the night before
  • Preparing my lunch, usually a box of homemade chopped salad and a PB&J, which I should have prepared the night before
  • If there's time (there usually isn't), whipping up my morning fruit/yogurt shake
  • Bidding goodbye to the still-in-bed Mrs. The Anthony Show
  • Bursting out of the house with my fly open
As an extra step, I've started bringing my AeroPress coffee maker (more about that in a later post), so I pack a reusable shopping bag with its components.

Yesterday morning after I packed my car with the shopping bag and the backpack, I realized I didn't have my wallet, and I returned to the house to look in the usual places — a pants pocket, a sweatshirt pocket, a jacket pocket, or the counter — and it wasn't there.

I started to panic, because as I played that stupid game that even my 6-year-old son knows, "Where do you remember having it last?" I realized that the day before, after work, I was being the Good Dad and took Son to the park to recreate the fun we experienced last weekend and in order to move around easier I made a pile with my keys, two bottles of water, and my wallet, and I might have left the wallet on the grass.

There were a lot of people at the park when we were there, so I figured someone would have tried to contact me by now if they found the wallet. But then I remembered there were a couple of kids, probably age 11 or so, having a catch near us and they seemed like the type who would keep a found wallet without telling their parents (I have experienced this before; this will probably be a future post), particularly because this was during the few days during a calendar year that the wallet contained more than twenty bucks.

While Mrs. The Anthony Show began to tear apart the house (by this point she had moved from the couch to the bed to get some extra rest and popped out when I said, "I think I lost my wallet," and was in the kind of mood where she didn't want to leave the bed unless I were to announce, "A hipster ogre with thick calf muscles is trying to eat our daughter"), I jumped in the car and began to drive toward the park...

...and then I realized that the park wasn't where I'd seen it last. I went to CVS to buy D batteries at around 7pm, right before the kids went to bed. (Why I needed D batteries at 7pm is another story and/or blog post.) I remembered walking out of there with one of those full-of-useless-information receipts they now give that are like the length of a toddler's leg even if you buy just a box of Tic Tacs.

I was thinking to myself, as I drove back toward home, "I recall sliding that receipt into my wallet right before I got back into my car" when I noticed said receipt rolled up in one of my cup holders, which brought up the possibility that I dropped the wallet in the parking lot.

Our CVS is a 24-hour establishment, and you can imagine the kinds of folks who need to go to a CVS at 2am, so I knew that it was very unlikely that the wallet would have been returned. Still, I had to explore every option, so I went to CVS and, as expected, they didn't have my wallet.

Don't wanna lose this.
When I finally pulled back into my driveway, I figured I'd be staying home from work, either to tear apart the house some more or to begin the ugly process of calling the credit card companies while trying to remember what the hell was in my wallet (the only thing I could remember with certainty was Son's Lego VIP card).

For a moment, while I sat in my car in the driveway, afraid to return to the home where my tired and cranky wife was searching the nooks and crannies where I knew the wallet wouldn't be and my kids would be saying things like "Why can't you find your wallet?" and "Are you gonna be fired if you're late for work?" and "The Leapster scared me."

I started to gather up my backpack and the shopping bag when I noticed that the wallet was sitting there inside the shopping bag.

And thus I began my walk up the driveway and into the house. I tried to figure out how fast to walk. After all, I wanted Mrs. The Anthony Show to call off the search, but on the other hand, I was in no hurry to tell her that I had the wallet the whole time.

I began to think about how fragile life can be. Forget about the serious accident or terror attack or sudden unknown health problem rearing its cancerous head — even a simple event can wreck my entire day, if not beyond. It could be misplacing a wallet or keys, or discovering a flat tire, or spilling something on a shirt on the way to work.

Finding the wallet didn't give me a whole lot of time to think about how fragile life can be, however, since by that point I was running late for work. (That didn't prevent me from swinging by McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin, though, because, hey, I was already late; what's another 10 minutes?)

Locating a lost wallet isn't one of those "drop what you're doing and call your family and tell them you love them" sort of moments, but as I drove to work, gorging on a chewy breakfast sandwich, the skies seemed just a little brighter.

Life, I thought as I rubbed the pocket-lump formed by the wallet in my pants, was beautiful.

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