One sunny Sunday last August, I craved bacon and pancakes. I walked over to the corner market near my house and purchased a pack of bacon. The owner of the shop and I bantered happily, and I returned and made my breakfast. After this moment, I never saw my wallet again. I do not know how it left my hand, as I did not bring a purse, and the owner swore up and down that he did not see it left on the counter. I looked under shelves, and under my fridge, and stove, and in all the places it could have been, but it had vanished, as if in thin air. I kept checking, but no one used my credit cards to buy anything. Nothing bad happened after weeks.
Finally, I made an appointment with the DMV to replace my license, and I figured, I may as well submit my payment for my vehicle registration too. This is when I learned that I had over two hundred citations on my car, as well as probably a warrant out for my arrest. After a few grown-up conversations with some good people, I was able to take care of everything. I took care of the citations. I took care of the registration. I took care of the fact that I forgot to reinstate my car insurance and had been driving uninsured for months. I even got the dealer to pay for the cost of my citations because it was their error that catalyzed all these problems in the first place.
I never found my wallet, but now I wonder if an angel didn’t snatch it up so that I could take care of everything else.
Similarly, although maybe a little less dramatically, one day nearing the end of school, one of the founders of my school randomly popped into my classroom to chat for a minute. It dawned on him in that moment to ask me if I could write an article for EdWeek. He was behind in his articles, and needed three for this coming week. Of course, I said, and went back to the things I was doing, packing or cleaning or whatever. After school ended, I signed into my work email to make an edit to the article, and I saw a message from my new employer about reimbursing costs for traveling and getting visas.
I logged into my special new email account which I used to register for my visa, in retrospect a terrible idea from the start, and saw an email from four days ago that said, “URGENT: PROBLEM WITH VISA APPLICATION” (I imagine a British cartoon screaming these things from across the pond, even though the embassy is in New York) and the contents of the email informed me that I had three days to submit my passport via mail or else my application would be rejected. Read as: I will have to restart the application process, and pay $867 out of my own pocket.
I instantly panicked, and waved my arms around frantically, grabbing the first set of wearable clothes my hands could find, as I stumbled across my heavy breathing to tell PY what the hell was going on. I checked the date the email was sent, and since it arrived on a Friday afternoon, that couldn’t possibly count as the first business day. And Saturday and Sunday didn’t count. So today is Tuesday, so tomorrow is the third day, and so I flew down the street, ran into the nearest FedEx, and made this happen. I didn’t care how much it cost. I came back home, and more calmly read the email a second time. I realized that I had made a grievous error and had not written the application number on my envelope. I raced back to the store. What if it had just been picked up by the next carrier?
It hadn’t. I wrote the number on the envelope. I hoped. I prayed.
And in the end, because of an article for EdWeek (which later turned out to be not so urgent and is scheduled to be published in August, not June) and a perfectly timed request for receipts, I just happened to have not screwed up everything completely.
I consider myself so much more important for the salvation of things than I normally am. I consider myself so much more important for the devastation of things that I usually am. The truth is, sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.
I wish that I remembered all of these times when I am freaking out the most, but I know the next time the world looks like it’s about to come apart at the seams… well, I’ll probably have forgotten all the times it assuredly didn’t. Or maybe I’ll remember, because despite my forgetful tendencies, I think I am becoming slightly larger than I once was. I hope, anyway.