Who says being a mom doesn’t mean you don’t get to live a dramatic life of intrigue and adventure?
Yesterday while I was eating my Nacho Grande from Taco Bell and finishing the police blotters for the local weekly newspaper, my debit card had somehow cloned itself and was in the hands of a bad, unknown shopper in Manhattan who was having a blast at my expense. Fast forward to that evening, when I was standing in the pasta aisle at the grocery store buying dinner and answering a cell phone call at the same time, oblivious to the fact that my account was now frozen by the bank, whose security agency tracked the unusual activity and blocked me after not being able to reach me at home to verify the purchases. It was my husband calling to tell me I’d been monetarily violated.
Obviously I was upset; who wouldn’t be? I found myself mentally rewinding all the purchases I’ve made this month, wondering if there was a camera over the gas pump, or if someone behind me on a line had watched me swipe my card and memorized the numbers. I’ll never know how my debit card number was compromised, which is what’s so unsettling about an experience like this. Besides being upset, I had a million things to do in preparation for the next day, which was scheduled to be “The Best Princess Birthday Tea Party Ever.”
“Do you realize that in about 16 hours it will be PrincessFest 2011? I have to buy balloons, food, a sparkly hat and glitter for the table,” I complained.
“Nevertheless, you have to handle the problem one step at a time,” my husband said. So I called my bank as soon as I got out of the store. Someone named Maurice answered the phone and I explained to him that an evil criminal had bought out Macy’s with my debit card on pay day. He asked me for my birthday and social security number.
“I’m not going to give that stuff out over the phone to you. I’ve lost enough personal information today and hundreds of dollars were flying out of my account this afternoon. Next you are going to want to know the color of my underwear and I don’t even know your last name, Maurice …”
“Excuse me, MA’AM,” the voice on the line interrupted me patiently. “You called the number to your bank and I work here. If you want to clear this up then I need your birthday and your social security number to go forward.”
“Well, I’m in public right now. How about I give it to you in Morse code,” I offered. It didn’t take me more than a second to realize how irrational I was being toward Maurice from my bank, and that I sounded completely stupid. In my own defense, I have to say that he didn’t really know me or understand that I get irreversibly irrational when I freak out over something, in part, because I sometimes fall asleep watching the very dramatic telenovela “La Casa del Muerto.”
Although the voice named Maurice called me “Ma’am,” which absolutely does not describe me, after he agreed to give me the phone numbers of his supervisor to verify his employment with the bank and his mother to give reference to his good character, I eventually gave in and shared my precious social security number with him, which he already had in front of him on his computer screen anyway, as I looked around cautiously to be sure no one was listening.
Then my husband and I stayed up half the night cleaning and decorating the house for seven little, fancy girls expecting a elegant, fabulous birthday tea party. The next morning I was at my bank when the doors opened ready to fill out paperwork to settle the mess. I did and was home in time for the “best birthday party ever, Mama.”
Phew! I felt like I just lived through an episode of 24 without exploding or getting shot, (and I got the balloons). Thank you, Maurice from my bank. 🙂
Bio: Loren is a mom of three young children and a journalist for three weekly papers in NY who blogs at www.lorenelizabethchristie.blogspot.com.
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Photo credit: mzacha