The Missing Wallet and the Slate Grey Sky

Post Title:  The Missing Wallet and the Slate Grey Sky.

Mobility is always a challenge when you’re vision-impaired. Using a white cane helps, especially when it comes to walking. But transport is a must to accomplish some tasks or get around outside of town.

I’m fortunate my brother helps me quite a bit. But he is not always free to drive me, especially in the mornings. Sometimes I have to find alternative arrangements.

My story this week started out with this predicament:

Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family. My mother suffered from it and both of my brothers deal with it now. In a routine blood exam, I discovered my A1C was borderline. If I became diabetic, I would struggle with it for the rest of my life.

“I don’t want to cope with Diabetes. I already have a condition robbing me of my sight.  There must be a way to beat this problem.”

My research led me to join a pre-diabetes prevention class. Our leader, Lana, bubbly and passionate about developing lifelong health habits, motivated us in some new way every week.

During one class session, she challenged us to start a new activity to “switch up” our fitness, and exercise other muscles. What activity could I add? I thought back to the previous summer when I attended a water aerobics class.

Yes! Water aerobics.

I called various gyms, but my lack of transport eliminated many of those opportunities. They were too far away and too expensive with inaccessible hours. No choice but to relegate my idea to the back burner.

In December, I saw an ad on our hometown Facebook page placed by Aly Morgan, a thirty-something single mother with three kids. She was looking for part-time work to buy Christmas presents.

An idea struck me. I could hire Aly to drive me to Fitness U, a well-established gym in the area. It offered an assortment of pool classes, including Zumba and water aerobics. The gym was located about a half an hour away from my house.

While the idea was fresh, I sent Aly a quick message, “Call me. I have an idea that will help us both out,” and left my cell number.

Aly and I set up an appointment. She arrived promptly.  The once-a-week job suited her since it allowed her to take on other jobs as well.

“Hey wait, I gotta’ join first.”

We both laughed at my slight oversight. To my delight, I found my insurance covered the membership. I gave Aly a thumb’s up.

“What do I need?” I asked the manager.

“Personal ID—your driver’s license or equivalent—and insurance card. That’s it.”

On Thursday morning, I jumped out of bed at 5:45 am and ate a leisurely breakfast. Then I donned my swimming suit under my clothing. To ensure I had everything I needed, I reached into my purse to retrieve my wallet and check for my identification and insurance card. Strange. My purse seemed lighter than usual. I felt around for it. But my wallet wasn’t there.

It had to be around the house somewhere. I searched for a couple of hours, but nothing turned up.

I wrung my hands. Aly would arrive soon to take me to gym. Disappointment like waves in the pool washed over me.

Where could it be?

I often misplaced items around my apartment and wasted time looking for them. They usually turned up, sometimes in illogical places. But mostly under books or in a darker section of my dresser.

How could I lose my wallet, today of all days? I had called in advance and my water Zumba instructor would wait for me at the entrance to the gym. I had a ride. Now I only lacked my credentials. How could this be? So silly and inconvenient. Think!

I received the dreaded text from Aly. “I’m here. You ready?”

“Can’t find my wallet.”

She texted back, “Do you need money? I can loan you some.”

What? The woman who needed a job to buy Christmas presents just offered to loan me money?

Oh, the irony.  “No, no. I’m just missing my identification. Come on in,” I texted.

Aly looked ready to search. “I do this all the time. We’ll find it.”

“It was uh, right here.  Not sure where I put it. It’s a rectangular maroon leather wallet.”

I felt my face heat up. Usually newcomers, especially employees, didn’t see my weaknesses so soon in a relationship. One minute I interviewed her and the next, we shuffled side-by-side searching for my personal documents.

Intent on finding my wallet, I failed to see Aly move in my direction.  When I stood up from looking beside my desk, the top of my head slammed into her arm.
“Oh, sorry!”

She held out a blue wallet she found in my closet.

“No, that’s the wrong one. But …  but that was missing too. Good find.”

I tried to hide how strange it seemed to have someone I didn’t even know rummaging through my belongings.

I finally called the search off. “The class has already started. Sorry. We can try again next week.”

After she left, I searched other rooms in the house in the off-chance the wallet might be there. When I did not find it, I knew my low vision was playing the old hide-n-seek game again. I could not even find my super bright flashlight. Must have misplaced that too. If my wallet was anywhere in my apartment, the flashlight would have revealed it.

My brother, Mike, helped me look for my wallet. He took a “Ghostbuster” approach to my missing items, asking a few initial questions in his investigation.

He bobbed his head here and there, poking it in the corners then moving on to the next location. Mike liked nothing better than to call out, “Amy, here it is,” and lord his find over me.

But that did not happen this time.

The next evening, Mike and I went out to eat. I had a gift card for a meal at a pizza place called Skippy’s. I had never eaten there but Mike assured me the food tasted great. He was right.

We finished our meal and headed back to the car. I slid into the passenger’s seat and waited for Mike to get in behind the wheel.

“Here it is,” he called from somewhere  behind. He held something in his hand. But I wasn’t paying close enough attention to see what.

“Here what is?” I yawned, more than ready to go.

‘Look! Your wallet.”

Huh? “My wallet! How on earth did my wallet get in Skippy’s parking lot? You were just looking down on the ground and with your x-ray vision happened to catch it?”

“No, silly. I didn’t find it in the parking lot. It was on the backseat of the car.”

“Oh-h.” I took my wallet from his outstretched hand, still stumped. Then a memory washed over me.  On Wednesday afternoon, Mike and I had run errands.

“Let’s go to the bank last,” I said.

I had several stops around town to make that day, but we managed our time well and even fit in a car wash.

“The bank and then home?” my brother verified.

“Yep. I need to start supper.”

A few minutes later, I exited the bank and swung the car door open.

“Is it going to rain?” I asked. “The sky looks so different.” I didn’t remember it being slate grey but then Pennsylvania weather had a way of changing suddenly.

Mike said something indecipherable.

“What did you say?” Either he was mumbling, or I was having a bad hearing day. Maybe it was a little of both. “Speak up. You sound kind of far away.”

I focused on putting my bank card in the proper slot in my wallet and organizing my paper bills from biggest to smallest.

“We’re home.” Mike pulled into the driveway. He stopped as he usually did, just before entering the garage. “Ya’ gonna get out?”

“Yeah.” I gathered all my bags together, picked up my cane and my purse. “I can’t get everything. I’m not an octopus,” I griped. “Wait a minute.”

Secondary Image for Blog Post dark grey sky next to a blue clear sky with white clouds

I hoped I wouldn’t get rained on. That sky looked dark and ominous. Very grey.  I swung open the car door and stepped out, glancing at the sky. Wait. Weird. The sky wasn’t grey, not any more than any other December day in Pennsylvania. I stared at the door handle still in my hand and started to laugh.

The grey that I saw was the front seat—from behind!

Without knowing it, I had opened the passenger door and sat in the back seat, not the front. What I thought was the sky was the dark grey leather seat interior.  I rode there all the way home without an inkling of what I had done.

“Why didn’t you tell me I was in the wrong seat?” I huffed.

“I did.”

Now finding the wallet in the back seat all made sense.

I reconstructed the events. We had arrived home while I was still organizing my money, and I had to get out quickly. I gathered up my bags—must have forgotten to put my wallet in my purse—and then went into the house.

At this stage of my vision loss, I sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between the front and back door of the car. I usually feel for the side mirror, which lets me know I am opening the correct door. But I don’t always remember to do that or even need to. If I do err, I discover my mistake before leaving. I had never ridden across town before without knowing.

What a laugh I had! Though I would have to find a better way to address the car door issue,  at least I had not yet gone color blind. I could still determine slate gray!

Even better, I had the documents I needed to join the gym and start my water Zumba class.

You have just read, “The Missing Wallet and the Slate Grey Sky” by Amy L. Bovaird.  Copyright April 2, 2019.

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