Crimes Against Humanity

I fear I may have committed a crime against humanity. I did it with the best of intentions.

I had a bajillion errands to run today. So many that I set my alarm to get moving early enough to get them all done before the hockey game tonight. (During which, as we speak, the MN Wild are getting their asses handed to them by Boston, in case you were wondering)

I hit Lowe’s, Walmart, the liquor store, the bank and Sally Beauty Supply. It sounds so simple all packaged up in one sentence like that but it reality it took hours and hours. I had two stops left, the self service kiosk at the strip mall post office to get stamps so I can mail my nieces birthday cards, and the grocery store. I’d been saving the worst for last.

I parked in the lot and ran across the street to the post office. The city opened this little kiosk in a strip mall a few years back. It’s self serve buy stamps and mail packages. I’ve never seen an employee there. I assume there are cameras everywhere, since it’s always pretty desolate.

I punched the touch screen and picked out my stamps, clicked “check out”.

“Please remove your card and wait for instructions,” the machine said.

I was holding my card in my hand so I hit “continue” trying to get past the screen, but the machine refused to move on.

That’s when I noticed that someone else’s card was still in the reader.

I pulled the card out, set it on the scale, paid for and collected my stamps. I walked around the corner and spotted a closed door with a doorbell that said, “Ring bell for service.”

I rang the bell, holding the offending credit card in my hand. No one answered.

I could just shove it under the door, I thought, but who knows when an employee will be around and it could be left there for days before being discovered, while it’s owner panics.

I found myself feeling slightly annoyed. I did not WANT the responsibility of this card. I’m getting ready to leave town, I’m on a tight schedule, I don’t have time to waste.

What if it was my card, I asked myself. What would I want to happen? Well, if it was me I’d find out at the next stop, the grocery store, that my card was missing. I’d know the last time I used it was at the stamp machine, so I’d come back looking for it. If I didn’t find it, I’d be distraught, especially because I’m leaving town and no banks are currently open.

I looked around. There were indeed cameras everywhere. Also, I told myself, who even buys stamps anymore? Surely no hooligans are buying stamps. Just us old people who still use the US mail. We’re all good people, right?

I put the card back in the card reader and I left. When I got to my car I googled the name but got no hits. I left for the grocery store.

“Oh my god, who did I even marry?” J asked when I told him about it.

By now, of course, I’d been thinking about it a while and feeling all guilty, which is the whole reason I’d caved and told him.

I explained my reasoning.

“I just have two words for you,” he said, “IDENTITY THEFT. That’s all I’m going to say.”

But maybe not, right? Maybe the card owner was out running errands like me, and felt an enormous sense of relief at finding their card right where they left it? Maybe they can’t believe their luck? It could have happened that way, right?

“You should have called the police,” J said.

Yes, there was that option. I have no excuse. I didn’t want to. Then I have wait around for them to show up to a “non-emergency” and go through the whole nine yards while they run my license and treat me like a criminal even though I’m just trying to report a lost card.

I didn’t want to do it and the Nic in my head who might have forgotten her card didn’t want to do it either. Because she isn’t going to call the police when she doesn’t find her card in the machine. She’s going to call the bank and cancel it, and freak out about not having it for her trip. The police are not going to help her, and she probably won’t even call.

I put that card back in the machine right along with my faith in humanity. I believed the owner would be back, and happy to find it. I thought the chances were slim that someone would steal it, given the customer demographic and the cameras.

I hope humanity didn’t commit a crime against me.

Or vice versa.


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