Josh and I recently went on a babymoon, which I just learned is a trip you take with your spouse before your baby comes and your lives are ruined. I'd been thinking about doing something like this, and then Josh suddenly announced he wanted to go to San Francisco because there was an art installation by Ai Wei Wei at Alcatraz. You know me, I am always down to visit an old prison, so I booked us some tickets and a room and we were on our way.
We had a brief layover in Charlotte before going on to San Francisco. How brief? Long enough for us to wander around Concourses B and C, but too short for me to get gelato. Too short for us to enjoy the rocking chairs in the main square, but long enough for me to lose my wallet.
Yeah, that is not being a good traveler. I must've been wearing my loser pants.
I really can't say what happened. We got off the flight from Raleigh, and I took out my wallet to get my boarding pass for the next flight. I stuck the pass in my pocket, and then...I have no idea. I would have assumed that I put my wallet back in my purse, but that is apparently not what happened. I was carrying my coat over my purse, and I think maybe I somehow missed the purse entirely and just shoved my wallet between my coat and purse, where it eventually dropped to the floor. And then someone picked it up, grabbed all the cash and tossed the rest into the trash. That's what I would've done, anyway. (No, no, I would've have turned it in to the airline).
I was able to get on the plane, since I had my boarding pass. Josh suggested we not go at all, but I was not going to miss an already-paid-for trip. We'd just have to figure the rest out as we went. I had a six hour flight to feel like a bonehead.
The first question was how I would get home without an ID. The second was how we were going to pay for anything without my credit card.
I am not writing this from my new home in California, so I must've made it home. I'll tell you how. Before we left the San Francisco Airport, we flagged down a TSA agent and asked what to do. Surely I am not the only one wearing loser pants on vacation. She told me that they would have to ask me questions from a super secret government database full of information about me to verify my identity. I would also have my bags specially searched, and I would receive the pat-down.
That was about how it went. We got there super early, and I had to tell the TSA agent that I had no ID. They pulled me aside to get someone higher up. Everyone seemed mildly annoyed, and no one seemed to consider me anything more than a silly lady who lost her wallet. Before calling up the super secret government database, the agent asked if I had anything at all with my address on it, like prescriptions or a checkbook or even mail. This part did not seem very secure, but as it happened, I wasn't carrying any of those things. So we went into the airport employee cafe, the agent called a number and then asked me about where I went to college and who lived at my house. And that was it. I got the extra searches, which again was not a big deal. The whole thing took maybe an extra half hour. I still do not recommend losing your wallet on vacation.
As for the money, well, that was a bit tense. We were at the mercy of Josh's checking account. I keep most of the household money in my accounts, and he holds no credit cards. He had some money in his accounts and some cash on hand, but we would need to be minding our finances pretty closely. It's not that we were really strapped, just that we could not be as free as we might have liked. Luckily, a few things were already paid for: our room, our tickets home, and our Alcatraz tickets. We ate cheaply, which wasn't a bad thing at all. I used the UrbanSpoon app to filter restaurants by location and price range, so we were able to spend less than $10 apiece per meal, and we still ate some dang tasty food. We also made good use of the grocery store near where we were staying, so we had fruit and chocolate croissants for breakfast every day.
Around the middle of the week, I figured out how to transfer money from my account to his account using my phone. After that, we were able to be a bit more spendy, just in time for us to go to the local thrift stores!
Before all that, though, while I was still on the plane feeling crummy, Josh did his best to console me. After talking over everything, I was starting to feel okay about the whole thing. Sure, I'm a bonehead, but it looks like we can make this work and still have a nice babymoon. And then I was looking at the printed Alcatraz tickets, where it said "PHOTO ID REQUIRED." It was the whole dang reason we came. Why do you need ID to go to a prison?
I called the Alcatraz cruises office to inquire just how strict they were about the ID thing. The guy said that they didn't check it, but if we were boarded by the Coast Guard and I did not have photo ID, I would be detained. How often does this happen?, I asked. He sorta laughed and said it must've happened at least once.
I figured I'd take my chances.