' I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.'



12/05/2015

For Love Nor Money: A Lost Wallet and My Renewed(ish) Faith in Humanity

So, I reached dizzying, new heights of general incapability at life whilst visiting Manchester this weekend when, in an impressive feat of personal ineptitude, I beat my personal fail record and somehow managed to lose my wallet, despite it being carefully tucked inside my bag. That’s right: from inside my bag.

You think I’d have learnt my lesson by now, since this is actually the second experience I’ve had of losing a wallet. A year or two back, I accidentally left one, given to me by my dad, in the back of a taxi when it didn’t slip into my pocket properly after I'd payed the fare. I didn’t even realise it was gone until the next morning, and by then it was too late. The taxi rank tracked down the driver, but the wallet was nowhere to be found and was never handed in.

I was devastated. My dad had owned the thing for years and passed it on to me, and I’d gone and lost it after only 12 months.  I was also completely disgusted at the fact that whoever had found it would choose to keep something so intimate and vital to another person rather than hand it in. There’d only been about a fiver inside too; there was next to no monetary gain in it for them whatsoever. Despite all that, the person in question had at no point imagined how it would feel if it were their wallet that had been lost; nor had they apparently been troubled by even the slightest speck of guilt for keeping it.

Unbelievably though, the worst was yet to come. Months passed, then one day I received a phone call out of the blue. It was a policeman from a town nearly an hour’s drive away. “Hello, is that Matthew? I’m calling to inform you that the bedroom of a local teenage boy was raided by our force recently, and your provisional license has been discovered in it.”

 My blood ran totally cold. I felt almost violated knowing some unpleasant, little creature had found my wallet in the taxi and rifled through the contents to see what could be of use or potentially sold on. When questioned later, the boy apparently knew nothing about the wallet; it was probably just tossed in the bin after it had been emptied. I dread to think how he came to get his horrible hands on my ID though, not to mention for what exactly he’d been using it. 

The whole experience just made my skin crawl and I was totally disillusioned by the complete apathy of which people seem capable. I read a line from a work by the Spanish philosopher, Baltasar Graci├án, not long ago and really stuck with me: ‘the misfortune of your century, that virtue is taken as unusual and malice the norm.’ And he was saying that all the way back in the 1600s… I wonder what he’d have to say, if he were alive to see the way people act today?  

Okay, I’ve communicated how sufficiently jaded and embittered I already am by this point, so let’s jump back to Manchester Piccadilly last weekend. I’m stood rummaging inside my tote bag. I can’t seem to feel my wallet. I carry on fumbling inside, nerves starting to creep in. Still can’t feel it. Imagine my growing horror as I slowly realise with each passing second that it is definitely no longer there at all.

I can’t actually believe I’ve done it again. Cue me rushing like a madman to trace my steps, vainly leaving my contact details with every info desk and waitress I can find, before accepting the inevitable and enduring the stress of trying to cancel every bank card I’d had on me. It dawns on me there were a couple of gift cards tucked inside too. Great. I’m never seeing that wallet again!

So, a few days go by, and all the while I’m mentally kicking myself for being so extraordinarily scatter-brained. No one has been in touch, and I’m torturing myself wondering whose hands it could have fallen into this time.

Suddenly my phone rings. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I suspect it’s the police calling to tell me my ID’s been found being used to cut lines of coke in the den of some highflying drug baron or other.  Thankfully, it turns out to be just my boyfriend.

Thoughtfully of him, he’s passed by the train station’s lost property one last time on his way home from work, just in case. And I don’t believe it – my wallet has been handed in. Everything – gift cards, cash, ID, bank cards – is still safely inside. I’d come to  the conclusion that mankind as a whole was just a total write-off; yet, some kind soul had apparently spotted my wallet on the train or platform and done the decent thing. I was ecstatic!

I’d presumed the worst of others, only to be reminded that there are still some good eggs left out there, few and far between as they undoubtedly sometimes are. I couldn’t be more grateful to that refreshingly caring stranger who made my day, and I wish I could thank them, whoever and wherever they are. I wouldn’t say my faith in humanity has been entirely restored, but the next time I lose something (which, me being me, will no doubt be sooner rather than later), I won’t be quite so quick to give up hope on it coming back to me again!

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