I failed spectacularly, which if you think about it, is the only way a person should fail. Because if you fail only slightly, how much can you take from the experience? But if you fail in a grandiose manner, the kind that has you running for the fire extinguisher, that you never thought you’d need, well, there’s a lot to be learned from that.
I lost my credit card. A month and a half ago. I’d be embarrassed by this but I think we’ve already established that I’m about as responsible as a toddler living in a house of built with jellybeans. Really, it’s a miracle that the roof doesn’t come crashing in on my head on a daily basis as I eat away at the walls of my home.
Today, I decided that enough was enough and called the credit card company for help.
They were not helpful.
Or rather the automated machine which greeted me was not at all helpful because it kept demanding my credit card number which was difficult to provide what with the fact that I couldn’t find mine. Eventually I got transferred to an actual person.
Cheery and nice lady on the phone – “Hi, could I please have your credit card number?”
Unwashed – “About that . . .”
Nice lady on the phone – “Well could you give me the password to the account then?”
Here’s the thing. I used to know the password for my account. It was the same password that I’d used for ten years, but then the credit card company changed servers and declared that the word “password” was not at all a secure password for a person’s credit card. So I changed it, to something that suited their rules but that I couldn’t remember at all. Normally this isn’t a problem because I sit at my computer and try different variations until the system locks me out for an hour. Then I pass the time eating the load bearing sections of my jellybean walls before attempting different password combinations again.
Unwashed – “Uhhhhhh. Is it this?” Says a string of words and numbers. “What about this?” Another string of letters and numbers. “You know what it might be this.” Recites a final combination of numbers and letters.
Nice lady who is sounding less cheery – “Ma’am, none of those match.”
I reach up and nibble on a jellybean support beam from the ceiling.
Unwashed – “I’m sorry. Does it count that I’m trying? Or is that only recognized at three legged races at church picnics? Although I’m kind of good at that. If we were in a field, I’d offer to tie our legs together so you could see what a rock star I am in those races.”
Nice lady who doesn’t sound cheerful at all anymore – “Hold on one moment, I’m transferring you to security.”
The woman who came on the line had a voice that said if you arrived at her office, she’d grab you by the ankles and shake you upside down until the truth fell out.
Slightly intimidating lady who may or may not own a mace and not as in pepper spray – “Hello Mrs. Unwashed, it’s my understanding that you’ve lost your card, have no record of it and do not remember your password. Is this correct?”
I may have gulped audibly and placed both my feet flat on the floor in preparation for being tossed upside down over the phone.
Unwashed – “Yes, that’s correct.”
There was a pause as the woman read what was on her screen.
Increasingly intimidating lady who bench-presses tour bus vans after work and has laughed only once in her life, after that time that she beat up Chuck Norris – “It appears that there have been a number of changes to the account.”
On my end of the phone, I grimaced.
A meek Unwashed – “I’m assuming you mean all the address changes?”
Woman, who moonlights as a prison guard and who has a MMA trophy that she may or may not use as a beating stick for bad clients who lose their cards and don’t remember their information, flatly – “Yes”.
Another audible gulp on my end before I launched into my explanation.
Unwashed in a squeaky panicked voice of a person who will never possess another credit card in her life based on how poorly this conversation is going – “It’s not what you think, I mean I know it looks like I’m some sort of transient white collar criminal who bounces from town to town but really I’m a stand up lady. I mean there was that one time when I was mistaken for a homeless person. But that only happened once. It’s just my husband’s job takes us a lot of places.”
There was another long pause, during which I’m fairly certain the security credit card lady polished her MMA trophy and reflected sadly on the fact that I was too far away to bludgeon – “Mrs. Unwashed, could you tell me the last transaction on your card?”
Unwashed – “Uhhhhhh, was it Amazon?”
Annoyed credit card lady now eyeing the mace hanging from her office wall – “No.”
Unwashed somewhat panicked – “Ummmmm, was it a random French media company?”
Credit card lady swinging the mace around her head with one hand while bicep curling her MMA trophy with the other arm – “No.”
Unwashed in a last ditch attempt to prove that she isn’t a thief – “My World Vision kids? I’m a donor. I feel like white collar criminals don’t care about the well-being of children in third world countries. I swear I’m a good person who doesn’t steal identities. Not a responsible one obviously, but a good one.”
The MMA prized fighter, mirthlessly – “Please hold the line.”
Undoubtedly she was contacting one of her fighting buddies who lives in the middle of nowhere, arranging for them to show up on my doorstep and teach me a lesson about proper care of credit cards.
When she came back on the line, I had to recite every address that I’d lived at the previous five years. Which was no small feat because we move a lot. But I managed to pass the test so now Canada Post strike pending, I should have a new card in one to two weeks.