A Lesson and Luck

It’s not even 5pm yet, and I have one hell of a Saturday

A day of lessons and personal limit stretching spanning from getting lost (or rather detoured) driving in the sketchy-as-hell drug dealer and crackhead-laden Tenderloin neighbourhood of San Francisco to…you guessed it, losing my wallet.

Allow me to backtrack…

It all began with a little bit of this:

Don’t even for one second think this is just some average “meeting for coffee” experience. Nuh uh, not any “meeting for coffee” experience can warrant braving the nightmare of driving through the streets of San Francisco (in a sketchy yet slowly gentrifying hipster-infused area nonetheless) and using an entire canister of quarters for an hour of parking…unless it’s Sightglass Coffee, aka the epitome of a hipster coffee bar and roastery which has been garnering a ridiculous amount of press whether in the New York Times or on Natalie’s blog recently

Sightglass is located on 7th Street in the SOMA (South of Market) area of San Francisco, which though seems decently safe is still verrrrrry close to the Tenderloin and the infamous Mission & 6th Street corners.

And with me being a Paranoid Penelope, I spent around two hours on Google Earth this morning trying to find a route to get to Sightglass without having to drive through or near the Tenderloin. In addition, I forewent any blatant designer items, put on a pair of skinny jeans and left my REGULAR wallet at home just to put my credit card, driver’s license, and a relatively small sum of cash in a credit card holder to put in my front jeans-pocket.

Call me ridiculous. Go ahead. But I am absolutely terrified of the idea of ever being purse-snatched/mugged/etc and my life mantra has always been to ‘better be safe than sorry’, and to take all necessary precautions and preparations as preventative measures.

Anyhow, dear Hallie met me at Sightglass, we ordered our drinks; her- a Cappuccino and me a freshly brewed pot of some sort of a full-bodied Kenyan brew tasting of tropical fruits- mango most notably; it truly was perhaps one of the most exquisite, unique, and robust cups of coffee I have ever had

Of course I would have loved to photograph the place for your viewing, but that would be SUCH a faux pas and the non-ironic hipsters (unlike myself) would probably shoot me dazed better-than-thou glances. It’s a large open space though, very warehouse-like with an intense collection of coffee-roasting equipment, a display of enticing baked goods, and you order and pay via ipad…oh and if you enter your phone number they send you a text message asking if you want to start a “tab.”


Apres our java jaunt, we set out for what we do best (besides coffee connoisseur-ing of course) and that would be eating

We headed to the Ferry Plaza at the Embarcadero and parked at some random office centre parking garage nearby and randomly decided to have brunch at Market Bar

We both were craving a satiating plate of grub, and ended up ordering the same thing:

Omelette with forest mushrooms, spring onions, and gruyere along with roasted potatoes and buttered Acme toast.

As usual, I maintained my Clean Plate Club elite status

And quality bread and cheese makes everything all the better. You know, in case you didn’t know that

Market Bar on Urbanspoon

Oh yeah and we had a pretty glorious view of the Farmer’s Market, and this rather pessimistic looking “Cycle Rickshaw” driver:


(Now this is where stuff gets intense)

Hallie and I paid the bill, headed back down a few blocks to the centre we parked, but stopped over at the restroom in the complex we parked in which is when I discovered my wallet was gone. Not in my pocket. Not in my bag. Nope. And we had JUST paid the bill minutes earlier.

*Cue adrenaline*

Let me preface by saying this has NEVER happened to me before, I am a self-proclaimed caution-phile as I am sure you have sensed  and in fact the ONLY reason i had been keeping my wallet in my front pocket was because of my irrational fear of being purse-snatched while dealing with a parking metre or the like.

Alors, Hallie and I lunged in a frantic run retracing our steps from the past few blocks. I felt that unmistakable surge of fight or flight I have always read about in books; an instant jolt of energy to whiz into the streets blind to any semblance of self-consciousness and disregarding the fact that attractive men in the vicinity may be pondering the silliness of our intense running form (actually that’s a lie, it was totally in the back of my mind but I did not care). We headed back to the restaurant…it wasn’t there…

…we raced back to the parking garage. All I could think in my head were hushed expletives, yet still a sense of relief that it only had my credit card, a small sum of cash and a replaceable driver’s license. I found myself almost accepting it’s loss, or perhaps not quite believing it, hoping that whoever found it needed it or had the decency to return it- my only wish in regard to if it was gone was that it would “not be spent on crack,” (as said to Hallie)

Hallie headed back to the restroom to see if I had possibly dropped it en route there again as I walked into the other side of the parking complex to see if I could give my contact information to the Reception in case it were to be found and returned. Sure enough the Receptionist dude stood up, i started to speak and…

He pulled out my credit card holder

Everything was there. Credit card. Driver’s License. Cash. There is a reason that Marc by Marc credit card holder has “Bonne Chance” (Good Luck) emblazoned on it (it also was my money transport device when I studied abroad in India)

I realised today that I have changed for the better, unbeknownst until now. A couple of years ago I would have had a panic attack and bawled until my eyes resembled balsamic-speckled cherry tomatoes. Instead, I kept calm, and even while the wallet was not in my possession I was thinking of solutions, and trying to foster an optimistic look on human nature; and the best part was perhaps that I had accepted it’s loss before finding it- going through the whole cycle.
A Lesson in Disguise?

Everything happens for a reason

Of course that was the main catastrophe of the day so the fact that I had to deal with the aggravation of getting lost in part of the Tenderloin on the way back to Union Square (thanks to the OBNOXIOUS fact that you can’t do any LEFT TURNS ever on Mission or Market Streets); but luck continued to show it’s face in another way:

I was the lucky 50th person at the cellular store so I received a coupon to get any SmartPhone I have unlocked for free.

And why am I getting my Blackberry unlocked? You’ll find out soon. Very soon. It’s the same reason why I had to purchase a new trench coat and a bunch of new Minimalist chic t-shirts recently

Have you ever lost your wallet? How did you react? Did you find it?

What fears or phobias do you have and how do you deal with them?

What is your coping mechanism in times of distress?

Ever got lost driving/walking in a sketchy part of town? Do tell…


19 thoughts on “A Lesson and Luck

  1. Wow what a day!! I have an awful habit of panicking without thinking- if I were in your shoes, no chance I would have handled it so calmly! I love how you didn’t use your regular wallet- I’m just the same! My wallet in Mumbai is not as nice/expensive as the one I use in London/Dubai!

    Oh and here’s a ‘funny’ (wasn’t at the time) story of when I once got lost! Last October, I was visiting my aunt in Dubai and as the weather was quite cool, I decided to go for a quick 20-minute run! I got really into it and ended up running for 40 minutes. All of a sudden, I have no idea where I am, all the houses on the street look alike so i had no clue which was my aunt’s! You would think I would carry phone number/address for emergency- NOPE! So I’m walking up and down the streets looking with no luck…and then I see loads of local construction workers which freak me out even more (god forbid rape or anything)….i start going hysterical and then come across a french lady and her mother…they seemed safe (well as safe as can be given the situation)! Lightbulb flashes and I remember my aunt is friends with the owner of a nearby supermarket so I asked to get dropped there. Finally I get there and use their phone after getting the number from them and call my mom/aunt to pick me up!
    Moral of the story: Never go for a run without contact details !!!

  2. DUDE. So lucky. Glad it worked out. I sprinted off a plane at SFO, onto the airtrain, to get on the 2nd to last BART at 11:20 when I went to get my BART tiicket and realized I had exactly no money. And no wallet. So scary. Turns out it fell off ON the plane in my quest to get there in time. Amazingly enough, they found it when I ran back into the terminal and told them which gate it was. So terrifying.

    I got attacked by two men outside my house when I was living in Africa… that’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me.

    I laughed at your description of getting to the coffee shop. I work in SOMA and more than once have wandered around 6th street, and the TL, at night alone. OOPS! Not anymore.

    That food looks amazing and is making me hungry.

    Are you really moving out of the bay area before I can meet you?? 😦

    1. Oh my God, you got attacked? That’s absolutely horrifying, I’m glad you’re okay! Did the police intervene?
      SOMA is becoming a pretty decent area (well parts of it) but yeah the TL/6th street seem super sketch- the annoying thing was I didn’t realize that you can’t make any left turns on Mission and Market streets so I had to take a right into the TL to come around the block…and I was freakingggg out, there was some scary guy just STARING at me while I was stuck at a redlight and I wanted to melt and be invisible right then.

  3. mahahahahahaaa i loved this post soooo much. especially your description of Sightglass – SO spot on. also, how you were frantic about avoiding the Tenderloin – definitely amusing =) goodness gracious, your day was indeed frantic! but it looks like a lot of fun – what an adventure. reminds me of the day i left my wallet + camera on the caltrain, ran from Pier 38 back to the cal train station in TEARS and luckily the lost and found office had it, with EVERYTHING intact. oh boy a day to remember. like yours!

    1. Wow! That’s amazing! I’m so glad you found it- isn’t that the craziest feeling of relief! Haha yeah Sightglass is quite a…sight. And boy oh boy hipsters galore

  4. So lucky you got your wallet back. I lost mine a few years back in a shopping mall. As I was retracing my steps a lady walked up to me and gave it back to me. She had found it and recognized me from the school ID photo inside my wallet!

    Getting lost in a not so nice area I always lock my car doors!

    Are you moving abroad!?

  5. I’ve never lost my wallet – the closest I ever came was losing a $20 gift card back in sixth grade (a *big* deal at the time; I was devastated). I never found it again, but it definitely made me more careful and orderly!

    I’m so afraid of vomit – when ever anyone gets sick, I freak out. Which is really more disruptive than you’d think, because it made part of my flight to London (where my little sister threw up) miserable, as well as made me quite uncomfortable on Friday (my mom got a migraine and threw up). Bad week? But I’m getting better at not freaking out, because I just try not to think about it and, if possible, to go somewhere else. Just because someone else is nauseous, doesn’t mean that I should have to feel nauseous, too – I try to use logic, because it just doesn’t make sense!

    1. My sister is terrified of vomiting too! The worst was a couple of years ago we were in Saudi Arabia and my sister fainted at a department store, was getting IV’d at the house and we had a flight that night to Germany and England and needless to say she had to vomit while we were on the plane and she started freaking out- it was pretty scary. I hate vomiting as well (for myself) at least, I am pretty scared by that gag reflex feeling when you feel like your heart is going to fall out of your mouth- ughhh.

  6. OH I HATE that flight or flight feeling!! Oh man, I had it lat night when I thought someone stole my camera!! I was so angry, but it’s nothing like losing a wallet. Of course, that fight or flight mechanism is crucial in times like that….good for you for staying calm.
    The food soundes fabulous, by the way. I want eggs this morning!

  7. Oh man I’m totally the same way and paranoid about all the same things as you. I blame it on my dad, he’s super paranoid. When I was a kid he would warn me to watch out for sticks when tobogganing incase the sliced open my leg. Needless to say, I had a huge fear of tobogganing. I love the way you right your stories girl, one of my favorite lines: ” bawled until my eyes resembled balsamic-speckled cherry tomatoes”! I’m glad that everything worked out, and that your wallet wasn’t stolen and used on crack!

    By the way, that flavor of coffee sounds absolutely amazing!

  8. Haha don’t worry girl– you are not alone with the whole paranoid of purse/wallet snatching ordeal. A few years ago in Paris, my mom literally spotted a pickpocketer AS he was reaching into my purse, and called my name really loud which scared him and made him run for his life (good choice, on his part.) Regardless, since that day– I have never been the same 😦

    1. Ah so scary! When we were in Italy a few years ago some gypsy kids tried to pickpocket my mom but my dad scared them off…it was still frightening though

  9. I’m so glad you found your wallet AND didn’t panic when the situation was unfolding. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together as well – although I have to say that fortified with a delicious breakfast like that, I might have been in a good place too.

    But wait…is Ramadan over and nobody told me?? Please tell me that’s the case. 🙂

    1. Haha no Ramdan isn’t over yet…still what nine or eight days left? My parents/doctors don’t like me fasting though because I have issues with super low blood pressure- but I do try to fast from negative thoughts/actions/etc 🙂

  10. If I’m super stressed/distressed I will totally cry, then pull on my big girl panties and deal with the situation haha.

  11. I am the anxiety/panic queen! I always have to stop myself when I feel that “pit in the stomach” nervous feeling and breath. If I can pause for even just a minute it usually helps me to think a little clearer. Glad you found everything though!

  12. As always, love the writing.

    I never cry when I lose something but when that unbearable feeling of dread just completely washes over you, then I just go quiet.

    And then I rethink the situation in my head and smack myself for not being aware enough. In fact, people call me absent-minded ALL the time.

    Lucky that luck is on your side!

  13. Great story and good on you for finding your wallet!

    Here’s my (somewhat embarrassing) purse loss story: I was with a friend at one of those Goodwill stores with the huge bins people go rooting through and without my noticing it, my purse had slipped off my shoulder and gone into one of the bins, probably because I had been wearing a very slick coat. I panicked and went blindly flipping through all the stuff in the bins, but my purse was nowhere to be found. I pretty much assumed one of the aggresive bin diggers had grabbed it already. That afternoon….long after I had called the cops and reported the loss, blocked my card etc….I got a call from the Goodwill letting me know one of their cashiers had my purse. And here’s the kicker….money, debit card, ID were still inside….the only things that had been stolen? My hairbrush and a couple of menstrual pads….who steals that kind of stuff?

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