Sometimes life has a way of punching you in the face and reminding you that yes, shit does happen.
So, I’m at the gas station filling up my tank ($4.269/gal if you want to know) and while the pump is pumping, I go into the little mini-mart to see if there were any munchies I wanted for dinner (there wasn’t). I return to my car, complete my blood sacrifice to the Arabs, and drive off for the drugstore, 15 miles away. I get there and I make the sobering, frightening discovery that my wallet has VANISHED!
“Blah.” I say to myself, rummaging around the seats for it. It quite frequently slips between the seats, or on the floor, or between the cushions and the door. I rummage. And it is nowhere to be found. My worry compounds by the second, until I realize that it is NOT IN MY CAR, OMG!
STOLEN! OMG what was I thinking, leaving my car unlocked and my wallet on the seat in the fucking city on a FRIDAY NIGHT?!
I am in full panic mode. “Oh fuck. Oh shit. What was in it,? Shit!” A bunch of shopping cards. Drivers Licence. Social Security Card. Medical Insurance card, One debit card. “Oh fuck! The Debit Card, fuck fuck…oh shit!” But, thankfully, none of my credit cards (all are stuffed deep in my desk drawer, never again to be used) and no cash (dude, who does cash these days?). I allowed myself a small breath of relief for that. Then I remember my debit card. “Fuck, I gotta call people!”
You got to understand—as a deaf person, making phone calls is a PAIN IN MY ASS. The process is laborious, centering around a 3-way calling system called a Relay Service. And nobody likes using it, perhaps especially the relay operators themselves (I’ve been told quite a few times that the operators are rude and impatient). I don’t like using it—too many times I’ve had people hang up on me without even bothering to find out who I am or what I need. And lets get this straight, I only make phone calls when I NEED to. This isn’t a lark!
So I call my bank. And the first thing they say when my operator informs them of the nature of the call: “I’m sorry we can’t take relay calls. It violates our privacy act,, blah blah blah.” I beg them not to hang up on me as it is an emergency. “I’m sorry we don’t take relay calls, it violates out privacy and security rules.” I tell them my wallet was stolen, who do I fucking talk to? “I suggest using our TDD/TTY line.” I don’t own a TTY, and all I want is to have my account frozen, damnit. “Then I suggest you go to one of our branches and discuss the matter with them in person.” God damn it, all the fucking banks are CLOSED! Its fucking 8 pm on a Friday night, YOU are my goddamn branch! “Im sorry we cannot take relay calls, it vio—“ I tell my operator to hang up as I can’t listen to that bullshit. She relays this to the other person and he CHUCKLES! I cut off the phone.
I’m fucking DEAF, you assholes! The relay service is my ONLY fucking option. I’m in the midst of an emergency and I need things done NOW and you LAUGH AT ME? Fuck your damn privacy and security rules, this is no time for that crap. I fucking WAIVE those requirements of my own recognizance, so fucking freeze my fucking account, you fucking cocksucksers!
That’s what I was thinking then, and I am still thinking it. I may be hysterical and irrational and even rude, but I know I am right. And I am certain that the law requires that reasonable accommodation be made to service my needs, and the fucking relay service is reasonable accomodation. Gawd!
So failing at freezing my bank account, I continue on to the police station, 20 miles away. When I get there, they tell me to use the hall phone to report the crime, and are happy to oblige me when I tell them I am deaf (hear that Webster bank?) Once they find out where it took place, they tell me I am in the wrong town—that the incident occurred over the border into the neighboring town, and I must file my report with them there. I sigh, “Okay” I say. “But I was wondering..I tried to freeze my bank account and they wouldn’t take my call, because I’m deaf.” I think my voice quivered. “I don’t know what to do!” “Well, would you like me to call them for you?” WOULD I? “Yes, if you are willing, that would be so helpful.”
And guess what, the Bank took their call! Where they wouldn’t take a professional relay operator, they take the call of someone claiming to be a police officer calling on my behalf! Privacy rules, my ass! So with the wonderful officer’s help, my card was frozen and I felt less panicky. Instead I just felt mad. She then gives me directions to the next town’s police station, and my journey continues.
Long story short, she gave me the wrong directions. I drive around and around and around, surrounded by trees and darkening sky. I am worried about getting lost, and all I want to do is report a damn stolen wallet.
I end up returning to the gas station where my wallet vanished, and the cashier calls the police for me. The officer arrives a short time later and takes my report. He gives me information, tells me he will check the surveillance cameras, and sends me home.
Once home, I double-check the car to be sure that the wallet is, in fact gone. And….
It was there, wedged deep under the seat between the cushions and the seat belt mechanism.
And right between the relief and the mortification was this thought: “Fuck, I gotta make another damn phone call.”