First, some background.
Last night, I took AJ for a drive. Rather, he drove. I had to get cash to pay my nephew for scooping a winter's worth of poop out of the yard, so we had to hit the Walgreens ATM about a mile away and then go over to my mom's and give Anthony the cash. It was about a fifteen-minute errand, perfect for driving practice. Since I only needed my wallet, I took it out of my purse and put it in the pocket of the sweatshirt I was wearing. At the end of the drive, my fuel light came on. (This happens from time to time...I just don't check it as often as I should.) AJ suggested we stop for gas right then, but I told him he needed to get back to study for a geometry test so I'd just do it on the way to work in the morning. After all, I should have a good thirty miles left in the tank, right? Never mind that we already had to replace my fuel pump once...anyway. Cash retrieved and handed over, home again, jiggety jog, everything's jake.
This morning, my nephew called the house to see if I could leave him keys so he could use our computer. We don't have an extra set (AJ lost them) so I left mine in the mailbox, assuming that after he used the computer in the morning he'd drop them back in the box. I toodled off to work after dropping of Hannah, having forgotten to get gas (the fuel light didn't come on until I was a block away from work, barely on time.) I decided to get gas on the way to a lunchtime errand, and then I'd head to the gym. I dropped off the things I needed to drop off (flyers for a nonprofit event I'm planning) and then went to the gas station. Opened my purse and...no wallet. And exactly $1 in cash in my purse. Shit. Shit shit shit. I considered for a moment getting the 1/4 tank that the dollar would buy, but couldn't take the humiliation, and wound up heading home to retrieve my wallet from my sweatshirt and then get gas, making the gym an impossibility, although I probably sweated off a bunch of calories anyway furiously wishing for the gas fumes to get me there.
I pulled into my driveway and ran up the stairs to retrieve my keys from the mailbox. You guessed it...not there. I scratched and scraped at the bottom of the mailbox a few times just to make sure, and then called my nephew to see if he was in the house. No answer. Tried the house phone. No answer. Shit. Shit shit shit. Called over to my mom's to see if Anthony was there...nope. But since my mom is only a few blocks away, once she was through laughing at me she offered to give me some cash to get some gas. A few minutes, a mile and half's drive, a borrowed $20, and a lot of fevered chanting later, I was on my way back to the office. An unremarkable afternoon followed.
I laughingly recounted this tale to Peter as I left the office in the evening (on the phone, but not in the car, for the record.) He sighed appropriately. Oh, that Erica. Picked up Hannah, got home and realized I couldn't find my merely days-old cell phone. Rooted around my purse, in pockets, no dice. Shit! SHIT SHIT SHIT GODDAMN. As I came around the side of my car to check the passenger seat, my phone chirped with a text -- it was stuck inside my goddamned coupon organizer in my purse, which is why I didn't see it. Sweet relief! And then, I glanced in the car as I was closing the door, and under a reusable shopping bag I caught a glimpse of a corner of a familiar business card. I lifted the bag.
It was my wallet. It had been there the whole time. It was then that I remembered coming home the night before from the drive with AJ, taking the wallet out of my pocket, and putting it in my purse -- because I didn't want to forget my wallet at home in the morning. It likely fell out during one of my complete, non-rolling stops at stop signs.
Let's recount the things I did "right":
1. I replaced my wallet so I wouldn't forget it in the morning
2. I put my phone back in my purse rather than in a random pocket or on the seat
3. I came to complete stops at all stop signs
4. I use reusable shopping bags and leave them in the car so I'll always have them when I need them
5. I use coupons...
6. ...organized in a little holder expressly for them that I keep in my purse so I'll always have them when I need them.
The problem was, I assumed I behaved stupidly on the first two counts. Usually this is a solid assumption. And then everything else conspired to get even stupider. This time, it was stupid to think I was stupid. I can't win.