Sunday, June 10, 2018

Crisis = opportunity

I had a new experience this past week, though not one I could honestly recommend to anyone: I was the victim of a "strong-arm robbery." Or, as most of us would call it, a purse snatching.

I wasn't seriously injured (just a scrape on the hand), but I've had to spend much of the past week dealing with the effects of the robbery. I spent most of that first afternoon filing a police report and part of one other afternoon working with a sketch artist, and I devoted most of the following evening and day to bookkeeping matters. I went online that evening to cancel all my credit and debit cards and print out new copies of my insurance cards, and then Brian and I went out to pick up a new set of doorknobs, which he spent that evening installing, so the thieves couldn't get into our house. (The key was in my purse, and they could find the address on my driver's license.) We spent the next morning running around to the bank to replace my debit card and cancel the six checks I had left in my checkbook, to the car dealer to have our car keys changed, and to another bank branch to switch out the locks on our safe deposit box. And the day after that, we had to stop by my mom's house to get my birth certificate, which I'll need for ID to replace my driver's license now that I no longer have the license. Oh, and I also went to the library to get a new library card, because priorities.

After a few days of hard work, we've now dealt with all the official business except for my driver's license and registration (a trip to the DMV is on the agenda for tomorrow). Now comes the trickier part: replacing all my stuff. I'm the kind of gal who likes to be prepared for anything, so I habitually carry a lot of things in my purse besides the usual wallet, keys, and phone. I had a mini umbrella, a pair of sunglasses, a notebook and pen, a pillbox, a sewing kit, a first-aid kit, a book of matches, my grocery price book, a reusable shopping bag, a few crossword puzzles, a local map, a little makeup, a deck of cards, an energy bar, a travel toothbrush, a handkerchief, loyalty cards from half a dozen different stores, and wee containers of sunscreen, lotion, and hand sanitizer. Plus maybe a few other things I'm forgetting about. All that stuff, including the purse itself, has to be replaced.

But as John F. Kennedy once said (incorrectly, but that's beside the point), the Chinese word for crisis is a combination of "danger" and "opportunity." So I'm determined to turn this crisis into an opportunity for me: the chance to perfect my everyday carry, or EDC.

You see, as I was going through the list of all the stuff in my wallet, trying to remember what all I needed to replace, I noticed that there was a lot of junk in there that, really, I probably didn't need to be carrying on an everyday basis. (Side note: yes, of course I keep a list of all the stuff in my wallet for just such an occasion as this. I told you I was anal.) I'd need to replace the license, of course, and my credit cards and ATM card, and my health insurance cards. But did I really, for example, need my blood donor and organ donor cards? The blood bank already has all my info on record, and my new driver's license will list my organ donor status. And there were some store and restaurant loyalty cards for places we almost never go to, including one that has actually gone out of business entirely. And a card for a credit union that I never use, because the only branch is in New York, and it would cost me more to go into the city to close the account than the account actually contains. And a couple of shopping guides that I can easily access online once I finally get myself a smartphone, which I was planning to do this year anyway.

All that stuff doesn't need to be replaced, and the same, I realized, probably goes for much of the other stuff I was carrying around. So I've decided that, first of all, I'm only going to replace the stuff I truly need; and second, everything I do replace is going to be at least as good as the original, if not better. I'm not going to make do with a "good enough" purse or wallet or key ring because I've lost the one I liked; I'm going to take this opportunity to upgrade every single thing I carried in that purse that was less than ideal. So when all the dust from this robbery has finally settled, I'm actually going to be better off than I was before it happened.

I've already made a start. I've pared my new key ring down to the essentials: our new house and car keys, a mini flashlight, and a mini Leatherman tool to replace my little Swiss Army knife. Since I'd already found a pen that seemed pretty much ideal for me, I simply went back to JetPens and ordered a couple more of those (one for the new purse and one for a spare). I bought a new notebook, made from certified sustainable paper, at the local art supply store. (It was a bit pricey, but I just counted it toward my local shopping budget.) I ordered a wallet on eBay that's big enough to carry everything I need on a daily basis—cards, cash, and change—and can also hold my checkbook when I need it to, though I probably won't carry it around routinely anymore. (It came in handy once in a while, but usually, if I need to write a check, I know about it ahead of time.) And I found a purse on Poshmark that's similar to my old one, but with a single long strap so it can be worn across the body—a style that my doctor has told me is better for my back, and also has the advantage of being harder to snatch.

It'll take a while for all my new stuff to arrive, but within the next week or so, I should have an EDC that's better, leaner, more organized than what I had before this pesky robbery. Mind you, I still wouldn't say I'm glad it happened—but if I end up with a more functional EDC as a result, at least there's a silver lining.
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