I knew I’d forgotten something.
Before stepping out the door and into the taxi waiting in our driveway to take me to the train station I leapt back toward the entryway table in our home.
My kindle! Got it!
I grabbed my kindle and flew out the door and slid into the backseat of the taxi beaming, “Hello!” to the driver, still weighted by this feeling of forgetting…something. “Hello,” he said, “I have to make one more stop.” At 4:47 p.m., I knew this was a warning. We were cutting it close to making my five o’clock train. I opened my bag to check my sneaking suspicion and saw a whole lot of empty. Something was missing.
“Wait!” I shouted. “I don’t have my wallet! I have to go back!”
The driver stopped short in the middle of our street and I ran out like the car was on fire. I burst through the front door shouting, “My wallet! My wallet! Where’s my wallet!” You guys started crying. Nope, scratch that. You started screaming. It was already a lot saying good-bye (“Good-bye! I’m going to the bathroom! I’ll be right back!” I say, because for some reason in your minds that’s all right. I wonder if you think what goes on in that bathroom. When I went on my girl’s weekend, I was in there for three days.) You guys were in bathing suits with socks pulled up to your knees. It was raining and ninety degrees out, but this is what happens when you dress yourselves and Nanny watches you: Anything goes. I ran through the kitchen, the office, my bedroom, the basement, knocking over mail piles and clutter in my wake. “MA! Where’s my wallet??? I gotta go!! Crap!!!” The clock was ticking. Nanny ran over and stuck a wad of cash in my hand like she was a relay racer passing me a baton.
“HERE! TAKE THIS! IS IT ENOUGH?”
“I DON’T KNOW! I GOTTA GO!” And I ran out the door.
“SORRY!” I heaved sliding back into the taxi.
“It’s okay, did you find it?” the driver asked peeling off aware of the clock, too.
He darted his eyes in the rearview mirror and jerked the car stop once again.
“IT’S OKAY, I HAVE MONEY, GO, GO!”
I did have money–forty-four dollars, thanks to Nanny–but was that enough to buy a ticket on the Long Island Rail Road, get uptown to my doctor’s appointment and back downtown for dinner? And what about identification? And my insurance card? I was going to the doctor, wouldn’t they need it?
Suddenly, the mental image of my wallet on the passenger seat of my car where I’d tossed it that morning popped into mind. It was right there doing nothing in the garage.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I took out my phone to call Nanny and ask her to check and saw my cell phone only had ten percent battery left. I would need this in case I got stranded somewhere with no money and identification. Why didn’t I charge it when I had the chance?
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I’d just traumatized my children. Running in. Running out. No bathroom warning. No good-bye.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
How could I check to make sure I had my kindle so I could read a book called “My Heart is an Idiot,” by Davy Rothbart, but not my wallet??
Not just your heart but you are an idiot, Amy!
At the station I bought a one-way ticket for $7.50…
I planned to buy a two-ride Metrocard once I got to Penn for $5.00…
I’m not a new patient so the doctor would have my insurance information on file…
The restaurant is only twelve blocks from the office, so I could walk…
As long as I didn’t get arrested, pass out on the street or get hit over the head at Battery Park City while stalking Madonna and wake up with amnesia like Rosanna Arquette in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” I wouldn’t really need my ID, would I?
So as it turned out, all of that panic and self-loathing, and it was fine.
The moral of the story, babies, is, your mother is an idiot.
No, no, no, I mean, the moral of the story is, we are creatures with stuff. We hold onto to stuff. We feel naked without our phones. Oh no, I forgot my phone! Like this is so terrible! Like what if someone can’t call me! Can’t reach me at this very instant! Cue Mr. Bill, that terrible, terrible, annoying clay thing, Oh nooo! I washed my behind with Pantene 2-in-1 volumizing shampoo-and-conditioner for two weeks because I did not want to buy soap when I’d forgotten some on vacation. I did this out of principle. I had 14 bars of Dove white soap from Costco hoarded at home.
We have all of this stuff, and what good does it do us?
At the end of the day, I had enough money to get me where I was going.
At the end of the day, I will proudly be someone who declares “Desperately Seeking Susan” an awesome movie.
At the end of the day, it was my mother who saved my flighty Pantene-polished behind. And even though this might seem a little scary, I promise, I’ll be there to do the same for you.