The misplaced debit card

Published 12:44 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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For the first time, ever, I managed to lose my debit card. 


And I was out of checks (those are pieces of paper on which you actually write how much money you want to pay and to whom, kiddies).

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“Did you leave it at a store?” Paul asked as I, in a panic, began to ransack the kitchen and bedroom.


“I never go anywhere!” I wailed in reply. “The only two places I’ve gone in the last 48 hours was to the gas station to fill the truck, and the Spinx to get diesel for the tractor. That’s it. I must have left it in the gas pump.”


“Then call them.”


I did— I phoned the management of both The Hotspot and Spinx and patiently waited while each respective manager on the other end politely offered to look in each store’s Lost and Found. Nope, nada, nothing.


“That means someone must have taken it and not turned it in,” I fumed, immediately going online to cancel my card. “What kind of world are we living in that people just can’t do the right thing and not steal!” 


What an irritating inconvenience it became to actually have to go to the BANK and withdraw money as needed so as to have cash on hand. As did my parents. As did I before debit cards were issued. Actually, I can’t even remember the last time I looked at cash.


“Have you seen this cool watermark that’s now on the side of Hamilton’s portrait?” I asked Paul, holding the bill up to the light.


“Yeah, and pretty much everybody else since 2006.”


But the worst was yet to come.


“Hey there,” I greeted my teller at the drive-thru window. “I’m curious: I reported my card lost ten days ago online and it said the card was being mailed, but I haven’t received it yet. I’m wondering if something happened?”


The teller looked slightly abashed. “I’m afraid it’s been taking up to six weeks for folks to get their new card.”


“What?” I cried, gobsmacked. “That’s insane! Why is it taking so long?”


“It has to do with China,” she replied. “And a shortage of ink.”


I didn’t know which was worse—that China was making our debit cards or that no one seemed capable of creating ink. I took out another wad of cash to buy hay (far, far more expensive than eggs, so stop yer bellyachin’) and drove home to unload and finish barn chores. At about that time, Paul drove the tractor around and parked it where he knew I’d be tipping a wheelbarrow of manure into its bucket. “Oh,” he said, reaching into his pocket. “I found this.”


My lost debit card.


“What?” I said, staring in disbelief. “Where?”


“Under the tractor seat,” he replied. “Must’ve fallen out of your pocket, or something.”


It’s an odd thing to hold a cherished object when it has lost all value. The immediate joy I felt at the sight of it fizzled into nothingness. At this point, the card was null and void and served no purpose but to remind me how careless and judgmental I’d been—ready to pin the blame for its disappearance on gas pump thieves who didn’t even exist. It had been lost and not stolen. 


My new card, thankfully, arrived but a few days later, making life far easier again and assuring us all that, regardless of whatever was inside that Chinese balloon—it certainly wasn’t ink.