My brief stint of jury duty actually is providing me with several days worth of blog posts, just not about jury duty. While I was in the jury assembly room, we received several handouts: one about jury duty itself and others that were advertisements from places to eat lunch plus a map of the area. We were also able to get our parking garage tickets stamped, so as not to have to pay for parking. I folded up all my loose handouts in quarters so as to be able to fit them in my purse. Then I decided to take my garage ticket out of the unzipped outer compartment of my purse and put it in the zipped compartment on the other side. I laid the folded handouts on top of my coat on the next chair while I dealt with the parking ticket.
The problem was, I could not find the parking garage ticket. I ended up taking everything out of my purse while looking for it. “Everything” included several months worth of debit card receipts, three emery boards, about ten pens, (which was odd because I can never find a pen in my purse when I need one) a half empty pocket pack of Kleenex and no ticket. Several of the items I did find wound up on the floor, to be patiently picked up by a young man seated behind me.
Having run out of options, I decided to look among the folded handouts on the seat beside me, all the while thinking that surely I would not have been stupid enough to put the ticket in with them so that it could just fall out. The bad news is, I am that stupid. The good news is, it meant I found the ticket.
So, since jury duty was cut short, the first order of business Tuesday was cleaning out my purse. Since that was going to mean sorting papers into piles to file, shred, recycle and toss, I decided to go through my growing stack of mail at the same time.
One of the items in the mail was from the government agency that deals with Medicare, telling me I can set up an account online to view my Medicare information, and including a temporary password. I’m not actually eligible for Medicare until June 1, but since I am on Social Security I have been automatically signed up and issued a card. Once my purse had been restored to its pristine condition, I decided to take care of the online sign up before I forgot. I needed my Medicare number, which was on my card, which I had of course filed in the “Health” folder in my file cabinet.
What was in the health folder turned out to be the booklet I received with the card, and a copy of the card, but not the card itself. I was able to use the number from the copy to sign up online, but I was worried about the missing card. I thought I may have given it to my husband to file in his folder of insurance information, but asking would mean letting my husband know I couldn’t find the card.
My husband has this ridiculous idea that I always lose things. In the 24 years we have been married, I have lost a few items, but who hasn’t? I lost my purse (but we both agree it was really stolen), my wallet twice (it was returned both times, once with the money in it, and anyway he only knows about one time), my car keys on a trip to South Carolina (but they were at the gas station when we stopped again on our way back) room keys twice, both unfortunately on that same trip to South Carolina, library books that turned out not to be lost as I discovered after I paid the library for them (they gave me a refund), a jacket, a nightgown, my prescription sunglasses and the first pair of cheap clip-ons I bought to replace them, the Palm Pilot he gave me for my birthday, and my passport. The Palm Pilot, as I had insisted all along, was in my car, not lost. When I took the car to a new carwash two years after I had replaced the Palm Pilot with my iPhone, they found it and left it in my cup holder for me. The passport was only missing for a few minutes in the Roman ruins at Bath before someone picked it up and found me by the picture. So really, that’s fewer than 24 things in 24 years. I don’t know where he gets this “always” from.
Still, I was having a Lucy and Desi moment when I finally had to ask John’s help with the Medicare card. He obligingly looked in the insurance folder, but found only the copy he got from his Office of Group Benefits showing they had seen the card. “You told me you put it in a safe place,” hubby grumbled.
It was the word “safe” that jogged my memory. I have a metal box, about the size of a shoebox, that I keep in my closet to hold important items. I’ve had it since I was in college, a leftover from a former roommate or boyfriend. There, right on top, was the Medicare card.
I thanked hubby profusely. Even though it was inadvertent, it was his use of the "safe" word* that led to my finding the card before my first act as a Medicare enrollee was to ask for a new card.
“Say what you will about my mother,” hubby reflected later, “She never lost her Medicare card.” I refrained from pointing out it wasn’t lost. It was in a safe place just like I said.
I do not lose things.
*You saw what I did there.