er, and so, yes

September was so overscheduled I kept singing Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (although technically, it was Dean Gray’s mashup, since I’ve never heard the original.) That left me complacent and unprepared for the rigours of October, which turned out to be a Terrible Mistake. We all returned from Oz slightly under the weather, and four weeks later, I’m still not better: very sore throat, sinus headache, aptitude to fall asleep in the afternoon even more pronounced than usual. It was in this sleepwalky phase that I came home from a Seattle trip at, like, midnight. I paid for the airport parking, put my wallet on top of my briefcase and thought, “If I don’t tuck that into a pocket, I will drop it in the street.”

And sure enough. It’s the second time this year I’ve lost my wallet, so I had the routine down, and nearly everything cancelled and reordered in 48 hours. Someone mailed the notes from the kids through the mailslot, which was …weird. They were the only really irreplaceable things, though, declarations of love in toddler handwriting on post-it-notes. I made a police report at the Ingleside station – a very odd place, in Balboa Park under the freeway, with bulletproof windows; I kept thinking about the Frenchs Forest police station so clean and open, with tropical fish in an aquarium. The officer made a funny joke about me ending up in Guantanamo, which earned him my best Look Of Death. He was extremely nice, though.

I spent a horrible few days thinking I wouldn’t be able to travel, but my fantastic attorney Minette Saved Christmas. I have an existential horror of being undocumented. I couldn’t sleep and I kept having panic attacks. I fetishize the documents themselves, as if they are my identity, as if my green card were issued through a clerical error that will be corrected as soon as someone realizes (doesn’t help that it’s dated April 1st.) Having noticed that, I overcame it a bit; as the Mister keeps pointing out, my permanent resident status exists separately from the green card, and the green card is in the process of being replaced.

Of course the very night I’d come to terms with all this, the homeless man who had found my wallet, and who had mailed the kids’ notes back, brought the rest back as well. So that’s nice. He would have brought the rest back earlier but he was picked up by the police and placed on 72-hour psychiatric hold. “I live a troubled life,” he said. Another lesson in how lucky I am, and how much I owe to other people, who aren’t so lucky.

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