no identity

My wallet disappeared yesterday. Somewhere between the cell phone store, my car in the parking lot, driving home, and home, it disappeared.

I didn’t have anything particularly important in it; nothing sentimental or extra valuable. But I did have my driver’s license, credit cards, my shiny new EMT cards, my CPR/AED and First Aid cards, about $20, a couplea receipts, my student ID, a couplea business cards, my CCW ID, and I’m not sure what else.

My dad used to call the feeling I had last night the “existential heebie jeebies.” I felt groundless, like I had no control over anything, displaced. This feeling wasn’t huge, mind you. I only lost my wallet, not my home. But having the feeling at all was surprising. I expected annoyance, frustration, and finally resignation once I started to go about the process of calling the banks and replacing all my various ID’s and cards. But I also felt this odd feelng of having lost a crucial connection with day to day doings.

You interact with your wallet in a myriad of ways. It’s your connetion to so many things; it’s how you get money from the bank  so you can then go get food. You buy gas for the car to get home, to meet with friends. Your identification – driver’s license, school ID, CCW, EMT cards – all tell a little about who you are and what you’ve accomplished. You might have to pull out one of these items any day of the week to show off to friends or  prove that you are who you claim. These identification cards have the effect of proving you are who you claim you are. Without my papers, I have no official identity.

What an odd feeling.

It’d be amazing if someone was enough of a decent human being to have put my wallet into a mail box – heck, they could have walked it into the UPS store where I’d just been and handed it over to them; they send things for a living. But I doubt they did.  Why couldn’t whomever found my wallet lying in the parking lot (because that’s the most logical place I could have lost it) taken it into one of the two stores that were directly adjacent to the lot? Maybe they put it in the mail – sent to the address on my driver’s license – and I will see it in my mailbox next week. But my faith in people’s willingness to do the right thing, to be kind for no reason, to help a stranger, is low. Very, very low. More likely, someone rifled through it, found my ’emergency’ twenty tucked away, and threw the rest of it in the garbage.

I woke up this morning feeling better about the whole thing. The existential heebie jeebies have passed, possibly because I know my newly ordered cards are on the way.It’s a hassle but not insurmountable. Soon, I’ll have a new wallet to hold on to like a weird plastic and paper and leather security blanket.

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