I have no social life to speak of but I like the freedom I have to get one should I choose to. Lately, come Friday night, I can be found at home, usually freezing cold, reading a book, watching a video, making a lonely meal, calling people on the phone for brief chats or just staring into space contemplating existence. Pathetic, yes?

Pathetic, maybe, but I like it like that. At least I have the means and freedom to change it if I choose. You know, I can hit the streets and clubs, see people, be seen, do stuff for a change on a Friday night. But sometimes…

I was rushing home from the office one Friday evening praying that I had only forgotten my wallet on my night stand. I didn’t even bother taking off my snowy boots as I swung my bedroom door open and looked around frantically for my wallet. It was gone. I searched my pockets for the fifth time. I searched the pockets of the pair of pants I haven’t worn for weeks. I moved my pathetic excuse for a bed and looked under there. Don’t ask. I looked on the dining room table. Nada. I check my jacket pockets again. Nothing. I cursed loudly and woke my napping roommate. Forgive me Lord Jesus. My roommate sounded sleepily sympathetic and muttered some helpful suggestion.

I place a call to the credit card company and they put me on hold for five minutes and I’m paying by the minute. Again I curse. Forgive me Lord Jesus. Finally, a too chipper and friendly credit card representative comes back on the line. I give her all pertinent information. Name, date of birth, rank and serial number. “Oh my God, are you the singer!?!” she asks. She’s a fan. Usually, I’ll be polite and play along but not when I stand to lose hundreds of dollars and an immaculate credit rating from a stolen or lost card.

Whew. There have been no illegal transaction yet so they freeze the card. But I still need cash so I run to the “Y” to see if anyone found my wallet there. On the my way over, the phone rings. It’s a friend fishing for gossip and my weekend plans. I give her my tale of woe. She wishes me well and I get to the “Y” wheezing like I just swam my usual twentyish laps. Your wallet’s not here sir. Good luck.

My final hope is the office couch where I can usually be found power-napping throughout the work day. Again, nothing. I call a friend for sympathy and maybe, just maybe, a warm hug. No answer. I walk home with my head down feeling like I just lost a friend. The coming weekend looks gloomy. No cafe au lait and newspaper at the corner cafe this Saturday morning. And the weatherman’s predicting heavy snowfall.

Friday night comes and leaves.

Saturday morning it is, and I’m having my coffee and praying to God that some kind and tender soul has found my wallet, tried to make a purchase on my credit card, failed and decided to return it. As I end my very earnest prayer with a quiet Amen, the doorbell rings. My neighbor, I guess. “Come in!” I shout, too lazy and depressed to get up. Ding dong goes the doorbell again. I go to the door half dressed in a house coat, long johns and socks and it’s freezing. It’s someone from the outside. I go down the frigid stairway to see who would dare call on me this early.

He looks familiar. I know him. But from where? “One of the toilets on the second floor kept flooding.” he says with a smile, handing me my soaking wet wallet. Then I remember him, he’s the maintenance man from our office building. I thank him profusely and remember only later to thank God for returning my wallet. Even if it did stink to high heaven.

The moral of the story: You must pay in more ways than one if you wanna be livin’ la Visa loca.