May 30th, 2008


Sometimes they come back

My wallet went walkabout somewhere between Oxford and King's Cross last Saturday, and I spent a frustrating three-quarters of an hour trying to sort out the fallout:

* phoning to cancel my credit/debit cards (easy)
* completely failing to convince the DVLA that there was any problem whatsoever with losing my driving licence ("well, you can apply for a new one on the phone, if you want, you just need your credit card" -- gnnnghh)
* explaining to London Transport Police that I couldn't absolutely swear that it couldn't have fallen out of my bag, though I didn't think it was likely, but I didn't see anything suspicious, and I didn't expect to get it back (at which they indignantly told me that their crime solving rate was the highest in the country) but I thought I ought to report it anyway, etc.
* being told by a patronising woman in Exam Schools that of course there was nobody in the University Card Office on a Saturday, and I'd just have to wait till Tuesday like everybody else

... and in between all that, texting the people I was meeting in Cambridge to explain that I was going to be even more faffy and late than usual but I had a proper excuse this time. And so on.

The main thing I was heartbroken about, though, was the loss of my IMSoc life membership card, which I'd had since, like, the nineties. A scrappy bit of laminated red cardboard with all the plastic broken at the edges, as irreplaceable as the hours lost to essay crises. (I mean, I don't even know why I carry it around everywhere with me, really. Maybe on the offchance that I'll want to go to the record fair on the first Saturday of the month, but won't have the £1.50 entry fee. Hmmmm.) I didn't think I'd ever see it again, because even if they fished my wallet out of the Thames in a year's time and the addresses were still legible, the scrappy bit of cardboard would have long since become fishfood.

But! But! Two days ago I got a phone call at work from a strange man in Reading who had found my wallet, with all the cards still in it (but not the cash, obv). It was a weird and awkward phone call, on a really bad line, & he was being very very cagey about posting the wallet back, apparently because of the cost, and he really wanted me to come to Reading to meet him, which I didn't want to do for obvious reasons, and I insisted that I would send him the money to cover the postage and he didn't have to send it back until he got the money, and so on and so forth, and eventually he sort of agreed and gave me his address. My office-mate said it all sounded Very Dodgy and I was a fool to send any money and I'd never see the money or the wallet again, and I'd probably get my identity stolen, but I decided it was worth it to try to get my IMSoc card back (and, like, my driving licence...), and sent him a tenner in a 'thank you' card, recorded delivery.

And today my wallet came back! In a parcel! And it still had my IMSoc card in it! And all the other cards, from driving licence (still useful) to credit card (now useless) to Staples reward card (still useless). And he'd sent it next-day-delivery, which I wasn't expecting, and that still only cost £5.05, so hopefully he doesn't feel too pissed off about the postage, & bought himself a pint with the change.

See, happy ending. And look, my IMSoc card. :-)