I lost my wallet somewhere between King and Market Streets in San Francisco after Game #1 of The World Series. (The SFO Giants won!) Amidst my husband’s and my mad dash to catch the Bart in front of the legions of people swarming from behind us out of the ballpark; I somehow managed to drop a wallet. That’s a big piece of dirt to re-trace, and an impossible feat, even if I wanted to do it.
The point is moot anyway, because I didn’t even know I lost my wallet until I tried to tip the hotel shuttle guy at the airport the next morning. The realization that I had lost my wallet and that I could be stranded in Oakland without any money or access to money left me dazed and confused. I felt helpless, particularly since my husband had left on an earlier flight, and I wouldn’t be able to board my flight back to LAX from Oakland without my ID.
Without money in my pocket, my lips were parched and I needed something to drink. Without money in my pocket; I was suddenly starving, even though I grabbed some food from the complimentary buffet at the hotel. Without money in my pocket; I felt destitute and alone.
Standing in line, waiting to plea my case to a TSA agent, almost in tears about a lost wallet and the possibility of not being able to board a plane without my ID; I happened to notice the burn victim standing in the line next to me. The features on his face were barely decipherable and his arms were marred with scars. When he caught me looking, he smiled at me. I forced my frustration and self-pity back down into the cracks and crevices of my being and smiled right back. I was in awe of him, and only imagined what he’d been through to get to his spot in line on this day. My troubles paled by comparison.
I somehow managed to get through the day. Whoever told you that you couldn’t fly without identification was wrong. TSA pulls you aside and asks you a sea of questions that only you could answer. Once they are assured that you’re not some terrorist disguised as a loser who dropped her wallet after a sporting event; they let you pass on through.
It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. It’s much harder to be the guy who survived a fire of some kind that left him disfigured. Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself; I ask myself whether or not my problem is as bad as any of that. The answer; I hope and pray, will always be no.