Just moments after I snapped this picture of all the ice-frivolity at Rockefeller Center yesterday, my wallet fell out of my pocket and onto 49th Street. It was a sweet little tan leather tri-fold with an embossed pickup truck that I bought from an aging cordwainer at the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon a few years back.
I didn’t notice that it had fallen. That’s because I had decided to take both kids by myself to Rockefeller Center without a stroller or any other kind of conveyance (“bold move,” said the wife, by which she meant “dumbass”). Since Dalia reacts to the suggestion of walking a whole block as if I was trying to march her out of Bataan, I was carrying both kids away from the rink, the wallet fell, and I only realized it 10 minutes later. When I went back, it was gone.
It was also raining, and, being a super dad, I had no umbrella, no food, and no money for the subway. It was lunchtime. I envisioned an afternoon of panhandling with my children, followed by a week of canceling credit cards and waiting at the DMV.
Except that something extremely bizarre happened: someone turned the wallet in to the security guards at 30 Rock.
Seriously. It was all there: $123 in cash, 3 credit cards, 2 forms of ID, 8 business cards. All there.
Even before I lost my wallet, I suspected there were a lot of visitors from the Upper Midwest at Rockefeller Center that day, because they were a little heavy-set and very good at ice-skating. Now I know. Because only a Michigander would take a full, fat wallet and just turn it over to the authorities.
I think the cabbie summed it up best after I told him the story on the way back uptown:
“That’s not how you do it,” he said happily, as if pointing out a procedural error. “No, no, no. First you take the cash out, then call a friend to give him the credit card numbers to see if he can use them, and then you throw the wallet in a trash can.”
Yes, cabbie, that is exactly how it’s done.
Thank you, dear tourist, for not knowing a thing about how we do it here in New York City.