I was pick-pocketed on a busy bus and discovered it only a couple of hours later, when I opened my purse. I couldn’t find my wallet despite effectively burrowing to the bottom of my bag, where everything ends up. I didn’t get that sickening pit in my stomach. I accepted that, yes, wallet number three was gone.
I knew exactly what to do. Seven years before I had lost my wallet in Costa Rica; my wallet had also been stolen about four years ago. Now I keep only the bare minimum in my wallet. I went home to my handy-dandy folder of ID numbers and crucial phone numbers. I cancelled cards and applied for new ones.
Even though I did everything I could, that night I had weird dreams about my wallet being gone. In one dream, someone stole my identity. I also kept waking up intermittently, feeling paranoid and wondering if the door was locked. I even got up to check it.
The next morning, when I was thinking a little more clearly, I was fascinated about how bizarrely we’re wired. Sometimes logic doesn’t prevail. In daylight, I could see that my mind was linking this theft with the previous one.
That whole incident was very upsetting. Deb and I had left our purses just inside the foyer of my house. Apparently when we were downstairs watching movies, someone tried the unlocked front door, walked in, and helped themselves to our bags. It’s only when she was getting ready to leave that we realized what had happened.
I felt so violated. I also was angry because the one time I had forgotten to lock the door – look what happened! The cops came but it was painfully obvious they had better stuff to do. Their questions and report were just a formality. I felt more safe once the locksmith came in the wee hours and replaced all of the locks.
Things, however, got worse. A cop called early Monday morning, waking me with questions that he needed answered in order to finish his report. When I was in the shower, it struck me that a lot of the questions were redundant with the ones asked by the cops on Saturday night. Since I had to fly to NYC for work, I got Colin to check with the station. He called me later to confirm my suspicion and share the creepiness: the cops hadn’t called. Great, our house was being cased! Until we got an alarm system, he wouldn’t leave me at home alone. I dreaded going into the kitchen because I felt on display, given the large, glass doors leading out to our backyard.
It took an alarm system (albeit kind of gross) and a couple of months before I felt safe in my house. But ever since, whenever I’m stressed, I wake up in the middle of the night, either to wonder about the front door being locked or inevitably to go and check it.
The mind does play tricks, but sometimes for good reason.