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At one point during the past couple of weeks, I realized that I had lost my favorite black leather sandals. They were open-toed flats with plain but classy straps, perfect for showing off a new pedicure. I missed them casually at first, the thought of wearing them sometimes leading to actually looking for them.
Casual miss soon grew into ears-pricked desire: I wanted them back and I would hunt for them. I spent every spare moment searching my house for anywhere the sandals might be; I went outside to see if I had kicked them off and left them there. I even looked through my book bag; sometimes I put them in there because I’ll change into them if the shoes I have on start to hurt.
I just couldn’t imagine where these sandals could be.
Then I started to think about how maybe they weren’t even home with me, how they could be somewhere else. But where? Where would my shoes end up without me? I started to worry about them. I had seen shoes flying down the freeway before, and I wondered if my elegant black sandals had somehow met that fate.
Scenarios in which I would have set my shoes on top of my car consumed several days’ thinking before the most popular and best-case scenario popped into my head: I had slipped them off in the locker room at the gym and left them on the floor instead of putting them in my gym bag. Somebody must have seen them there and turned them in. I would call right away. Okay, I would call the next day. Okay, for sure I’d call tomorrow.
In these calming days of self-relief, somehow I managed to feel completely better about the missing shoe situation since they were obviously at my gym’s Lost and Found, or—outside of that—completely dead to me, because there was no way they could be anywhere else. This imaginary comfort zone was still happening when yet another day came and I lost my wallet.
It was the kind of day when you go to work knowing you have no ID or credit cards on you, but you decide not to worry about it because you know your wallet has to be back at the house, somewhere you didn’t have time to search this morning. Then you race home at the end of the day like your dog’s dying, look in every conceivable place your wallet could be, let your blood begin to churn a little as your anxiety rises and your eyes dart: you’re thinking of the last place you were with your wallet.
You’re standing in the kitchen, thinking back in time.
You know it’s the grocery store, yesterday. Most likely you left it in the basket part of your cart. You call the grocery store pharmacy because that’s the first number you find and they transfer you to Customer Service, where you wait on hold forever until the line gets dropped. You call the pharmacy again and firmly tell the technician that it is very important that you do not get dropped this time because your wallet has been missing for an entire day and you need to know if it’s there or not!
This time the technician assures you in a confident voice that you will not get dropped, that you are being transferred directly to Monica. Feeling protected and strangely confident yourself—you think you’ll be driving back to the grocery store in two minutes—you grab your keys and walk out to the garage. You open the front passenger’s side door of your car; it’s the only place you haven’t looked for your wallet twice, the only possible place your wallet could be other than at the grocery store, or in the hands of strangers. You’re still on hold when you start to lean down to look under the seat again and what do you see but a glint of black leather in the space between the seat and the door: your black sandals, the ones that started all this, maybe having slipped out of your gym bag on the way home from the gym.
You are thrilled to find your favorite black flats and view this as your most significant accomplishment of the week. Then Monica picks up the line, asks if it’s you, and confirms that your wallet is waiting for you right there at Customer Service. You knew it.
The Barney Fife inside you puffs up with pride. You wish you had a kidnapped baby to place into your own open arms. Instead, you slip on your leather shoes and drive back to the grocery store to bring home your runaway wallet.
It takes somebody like you to run this crazy life.