For sheer heart-stopping thrills and excitement, there isn’t much in this world that can compare to realizing that you just left your wallet and cell phone sitting on a table at Starbucks. Especially if the Starbucks is inside of a very busy Barnes & Noble. Which, in turn, is inside of the region’s most heavily trafficked mall. I am not too proud to say that I was in a state of near panic as I fought my way through the throngs of post-Christmas bargain hunters as I swam upstream towards the Barnes & Noble.
I never realized how often people just stop in the middle of the busy main promenades of malls before. There will be a group of 5 or 6 people walking and talking, oblivious to other’s attempts to maneuver around them, and then they will just stop for no apparent reason and decide to have a symposium or colloquium on … what exactly? The most efficient way to impede foot traffic in a public area? The best way to raise the blood pressure of people who actually know where they’re going? To discuss how they all suddenly and simultaneously realized they have no idea where they are or where they’re going. I’m being sarcastic, of course, but it is a curiosity. Surely some animal behaviorist could shed some light on this for us. Or, if they can’t, perhaps this would be a good time to apply for a government grant to study it.
As I fought my way upstream through the throngs of people, much like Scarlet O’Hara fought her way into Atlanta as everyone else was leaving it because it was being burned to the ground by General Sherman at the time (and because it was the summer season and anyone who’s everyone was going to the shore), I thought about all of the inconveniences I would have to endure if I had indeed lost my wallet. I’d have to cancel my credit cards and get new ones, of course. My collection of mostly-used gift cards that all had 23 cents on them for some inexplicable reason would just be a loss. My frequent eater’s card for Der Wienerschnitzel, which is only one hot-dog stamp away from a free Junkyard Dog, would also be a total loss. My coupon for 20% off of a dry cut at The Clip Joint would be gone.
But the thing that made the blood turn to ice in my veins was the fact that my driver’s license would be gone. That would entail going to (gulp!) the Department of Motor Vehicles to apply for a new one. They would have to take a new picture. The old one, where they very skillfully made me look like a drunken cadaver, would not be good enough to satisfy their desires to make the driving public look like, well, drunken cadavers. And then they would give me that temporary driver’s license that looks like a hall pass from the seventh grade, a giant piece of yellow paper that identifies the holder as a loser and a flight risk. Just holding it my hand would make my voice raise and lower several octaves randomly, make my face break out, and put the proverbial “kick me” sign on my back.
These were all the things I was thinking as I fought my way through the throngs of very slow moving people. Fortunately, when I got there, my wallet and cell phone were miraculously still there. I guess I won’t be going to the DMV after all. Faith in human nature restored. (Or faith in the unobservant nature of people restored).
Moral of the Story: There’s nothing more useless than a gift card with 23 cents left on it.