March 4, 2014

BYRNE | Five Unexpected Things You Lose When You Lose Your Wallet

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By SARAH BYRNE

This past weekend I traveled to Belgium with one of my friends and we had an absolutely amazing time.  We ate our respective body weights in chocolate-y waffles, walked through adorable Belgian cities and then, on the last day of our trip, my wallet was stolen. My first reaction was clearly panic, combined with kicking myself for not getting a zippered purse like my dad always told me to do. But after I had cancelled all of my credit cards, figured out how to get new ID card, etc., I started thinking about all of the other things that were in my wallet. I carry my wallet with me literally everywhere, so I’ve accumulated a fair amount of plain old stuff that I don’t normally give a second thought to. But now that it’s all gone.  … Well, here’s the list:

1. The business card of that tiny but great restaurant: A small anecdote: On my sixteenth birthday, I rented bikes with my friends in Central Park, then we roamed around the Village until we were nearly dying of hunger, at which point we ended up on the stoop of a random little Italian restaurant. It turned out to be one of the greatest plates of pasta I’ve ever eaten; that’s saying a lot, as I am what some might call a pasta aficionado. As we were leaving, I took one of their business cards. Of course, I haven’t been back since, and odds are I never would have, but the fact that I now am unable to is sitting in the back of my neurotic mind, nagging at my thoughts. What if I suddenly wanted to eat a bowl of pasta in the vague future when I live in a vague location in Manhattan? This possibility has been removed from my life and I’ll miss it.

2. Ticket stubs: I am a bit of a hoarder of ticket stubs, and I even have one of the silly books you have probably seen on infomercials that stores all of my movie and theatre tickets. But apart from those in the book, all of my stubs from France were still in my wallet. Now, who knows if I will ever remember these cultural experiences. Along with these stubs were actual, real, not-yet-redeemed tickets, which some might argue are more important than the been-there, done-that souvenir variety. Call me a nostalgia addict, but the full tickets were easily replaceable, the others were unique! All I have now is an album full of empty pockets.

3. The wallet itself: Okay, I think you can tell by this point in the list that I have an unnatural attachment to menial objects, the type of things some might call tchotchkes. My wallet could be yet another ridiculous item that I attach significance to, but this one was actually expensive, and relatively new. It’s one of those long wallets that actually fits paper money without bending it in half, which makes me feel like a real grown-up, and it has enough pockets for all of my weird frequent froyo-er cards, which is super rare.

4. Library card: Right after the theft occurred, I was easily able to cancel my credit cards, because, well, this sort of thing happens all of the time. There’s a procedure for it. But what about those weird cards that I’ve accumulated in my life: library, Panera, Starbucks and aforementioned froyo punches? The path to replace these is much less clear, and there’s no way Yogurt Crazy is going to believe that I had nine punches on my card next fall when I get back to Ithaca (I did, I swear! I was so close!). These are the sadnesses of my life.

5. Your mind: We’ve all heard so many stories about people’s stuff getting stolen abroad, and of course I live in constant fear of most things, so I think about it fairly often, but I was super unprepared for facing firstly the Belgian police and secondly the world without a wallet. This might seem obvious, but you literally have no money or means of obtaining it without a wallet. I’m a worst-case-scenario type of person, and what if I had to bargain for my life? All of my bargaining power was gone. Also all my means of buying food, because I’m also a constant-eating type of person. Hard times.

I recently read an article saying that we overuse the word “rant,” but I will still say that this concludes my rant on losing my wallet. Having moved past the hyperventilation stage of the theft, I would like to ask the pickpocket: What is your endgame here? You can’t use my credit cards, I had like five dollars in there, and now you have my student ID, on which I look like an international criminal. So good luck with that. But do enjoy that wallet; I just want it to be happy, with a devoted owner. Love, Sarah.

Sarah Byrne is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at sbyrne@cornellsun.com. Let It Byrne appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

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