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Losing It (Your Wallet, That Is) In Cambridge

Losing It (Your Wallet, That Is) In Cambridge

Have you ever lost your wallet? Of course you have! Read about the ins and outs of losing it - and finding it - in Cambridge.

Incredibly, unthinkably, I’ve lost my wallet three – THREE – times in the past month. I am a pretty heedful soul, but, for some reason, I just kept on a-donating my treasured Wallet-Life to the Cambridge universe. The very last time, I left it on a half-wall outside the Central Square Post Office while eating my just-bought lunch. Each donation time, my corporeal self went from a chill, “Hey, life’s pretty good today, mmmm….a little better than yesterday, mostly because…” to “!!!!!!!!!” in about thirty seconds of Discovery.

Suddenly, I was calling everyone-@-everywhere I had been in the last hour, trying to sound/be calm. But, in reality, I would lose my inner strudel when a store employee responded to my desperate call with unreasonably dreamy calm: “Oh, hmm…no…no…we haven’t seen it (to co-worker): Hi, Jason! Hi!...(to me): um…a waah-llet...(to co-worker): Hey, Jason…? Hey, Jason…? Jason?...Hey, Jason?...Jason? Hey, Jason?....Jason? Hey! Have you seen a wallet around? Huh? Oh, good! Great! (I’d feel a rise of relief.) Great question! (to me): What color is it? Your wallet.” Me: “BLUE!!! It’s BLUE!” “Oh…sorry, no…we have one…but…this one’s, maybe…I’d say it’s…black. Yeah, it’s black. Thanks, Jason! You’re a love! (to me): I’ve been in love with Jason since kindergarten!”

That’s really nice. She’s in love with Jason, and she marinates in it all day there at the store. Suddenly everyone is happier, more mature, better adjusted, more dependable and luckier than me. Probably no one I walk by on the street that day has lost their wallet just now. And nothing at that moment eases my dread or my sharding, ruinous, tottering drive to find my Wallet-Life.

[Caption for photo below: My fave dental pick]"

In transit, I take a quick, vomitous inventory of what’s in my wallet, as far as I remember. I do this because, while I do have a photocopy of everything in my wallet, I don’t have it with me. (Tsk, tsk on me, see Number 1 below.) Heaving sigh…Credit card, T-pass, cash (not too much), fave dental pick (because greens get easily stuck between my cozy teeth - overshare). Bank card….um…what else…good grief…health insurance cards. (Thinking: “What if someone has my wallet and shows up at the ER pretending to be me to have a thing looked at? Then I’ll have this inaccurate thing record…”) Um, what else? No Social Security card. Goodie. (Mine’s not in my wallet. Don’t carry that around with you, for obvious reasons.) Other lost stuff.

I’m doing all this thinking while also taking a quick, not-Brady-Bunch-family-crisis-like inventory of where I’ve been, where I’ve walked, where I’ve relieved myself, where I’ve lingered, all since I last – and for-grantedly - saw my Wallet-Life. Multitasking walking, calling, searching, panicking, breathing, thinking, “What’s wrong with me? When will I be a real adult? Do I look odd? Am I alone in this world? Am I asking these questions out loud?” All the while, lurching ever-forward towards my destinations as if a great blue heron has landed on my neck and sits there, clingingly. In truth, at this time, I am the most profound multitasking powerhouse ever invented. It’s true. I am amazing. You would be (will be, and have been), too. Let’s start a Meetup for Wallet Losers.

Great! Now that we’ve started a Meetup for Wallet Losers, let’s ensure that there are fewer of us to join our Meetup. Here’s how:

1. How to prepare for the possibility of losing your wallet.
2. How not to lose your wallet.
3. What to do if you lose your wallet.

Number 1: How to prepare for the possibility of losing your wallet:

Prepare like a nerdy Survival Scout Prepper. Now and then (oh, every six months or so, to cover your bases), including when you get a new card of any sort, or a new dental pick, take a photocopy – front and back - of everything in your wallet. Go ahead and do it, and don’t worry if you think you’re obsessive. You’re not. You’re heedful and strong. You’re a nerdy Survival Scout Prepper. Print out a couple of copies and keep them somewhere handy, but not in your wallet! Say, in your back pack or at your office - so that, if you do lose your wallet, you can quickly vere into reality and look at a reliable list of what’s missing. And on all the important cards (e.g., credit cards) there’s a number to call if your card is lost or stolen. And, of course, if you don’t find your wallet, you can use this list to reconstruct your Wallet-Life.

Consider keeping less stuff in your wallet. Spread things out to other pockets in your whatever – your purse, your backpack, your nose.

Have a brightly colored slip of paper readily visible in your wallet with your name, email address, and a safe phone number, so someone can easily find you if they find your wallet. Go ahead and place it front-and-center so people see it readily and don’t need to meekly or creepily rummage through your whole Wallet-Life.

Number 2: How not to lose your wallet:

Keep your wallet in the same place in your bag or whatever thing you carry your corporeal stuff in. And make a habit of putting it back there immediately after using it.

Don’t put your wallet down
on counters, and always keep it in your hand while making a transaction.

Consider adding a coil cord to your wallet somehow so that it gets dragged with you if you leave it behind.

Take a fearless and searching moral inventory of where you keep your wallet: Do you keep it in your pants pocket? DON’T. It’s easy to pickpocket. Do you keep it in the outside pocket of your bag or backpack? DON’T. It’s easy to pickpocket. Do you keep it deep inside your bag so it’s harder for a pickpocket to grab? DO! And, big one, if you keep it in your backpack or fanny pack, do you leave those bags on your back when riding the T or are in busy public? DON’T. It’s easier to pickpocket. Always swing your bag around to clutch it in front of you when in spaces like that.

Number 3. What to do if you lose your wallet:

Of course, call places you were, or think you were, ASAP. Leave them your name, phone number, and a description of your wallet.

Keep your cellphone handy so someone can reach you (because you put a slip of paper in it with your phone number.)

Even if you are pretty sure you will, in that magical, glittery, Good Samaritan WorldCup Moment get your wallet back, quickly call your credit card company and where you have your bank card.

In the vicinity of where you think you last were in union with your wallet, contact the following key Cambridge institutions, leaving your name, phone number, and a description of your wallet. This is an important step because, if someone finds your wallet on the street, they might be more likely to turn it into a major institution (with surveillance cameras and more accountability) than to a smaller, private venue:

Cambridge Police Department, 125 Sixth Street (East Cambridge): 617-349-3300

MBTA Lost and Found. There are many MBTA Lost and Found phone numbers, and you want to call for the subway line or bus route you were on or very near. For example, here are Lost and Found phone numbers for two subway lines and two bus routes that run through Cambridge:

Subway Red Line: 617-222-5321
Subway Green Line: 617-222-5220
Bus routes 1 and 47: 617-222-5202

(Note: MBTA Lost and Found is open Monday through Friday.)

Cambridge Public Library. Call the main library (617-349-4041) and ask to be transferred to the branch nearest your loss.

Post Office (United States Postal Service. Multiple locations in Cambridge.): General phone number: 1-800-275-8777.

Of course, when and if you find your wallet, check to see if everything is there by comparing it with the nerdy Survival Scout Prepper photocopy you made and kept in your not-wallet. And do make time to call everyone you've left your name and phone number with to let them know they need no longer be vigilant on your part.

And, BTW, my fave toothpick is a new kind I hat comes flat in little credit card sized flats with a protective sleeve. It’s got a soft, very thin toothbrush on one end, and a soft, curved tooth scraper on the other. You can use this gem while walking, talking, calling, breathing, and thinking...if you lose it (your wallet, that is) in Cambridge!