Now, if I had received the PIN recently, I wouldn’t be alarmed, as they’re typically a random string of numbers that rarely spell out anything remotely resembling a vanity license plate. However, I’ve had my debit card with the same PIN number for so many years now, I should use them for my lotto.
Nevertheless, I found my index finger circling the keypad of the credit card reader like people on a low-carb diet waiting for an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet to open on their cheat day. How could I forget my PIN? I wondered. I’d been getting more rest, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and–here’s the most amazing part–I’d actually been drinking those dang eight cups of water every day. If anything, I should have been able to calculate numbers in my head like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman.
““Is everything okay?” the clerk asked.
““Yeah, yeah, just warming up my touch-key finger,” I said, trying to buy time. I felt like it was just on the tip of my virtual tongue.
The lady in line behind me with her toilet paper and Sugar-Free Orange Smooth Meta-Mucil cleared her throat and peered down her nose through her bifocals at me.
Giving into pressure. I punched in the first numbers that came to mind, but they were incorrect.
I cleared my throat and said, “Sorry, I hit a wrong button.” I canceled the method of payment and swiped my debit card a second time. Again, none of the combinations of numbers seemed familiar. In fact, it felt like I’d never met any of the numbers between zero and nine before. Finally, I canceled the method of payment again and paid with my last bit of cash.
The rest of the day, my PIN dogged me. I just couldn’t seem to recall what it was. It was like dating someone for several years and then not being able to pick them out of a police lineup.
I called 2Fs for reassurance. “Hey, I forgot my PIN today at the grocery store. Is that normal?”
““And you’re asking me this because …”
I knew what he was hinting at, but I wasn’t taking the bait. “Um, you’re so much wiser than I …”
““And I’m wiser because …”
I cleared my throat. “You’ve, um, have lived longer than I have.” I waited patiently while he laughed maniacally. You see, I refuse to embrace the cliche that every little hiccup relates to me growing older. ”“Look, just because you’re a 50+ individual doesn’t mean you should go shopping for prime mountaintop property yet. I just wanted to know whether you’ve ever experienced forgetting something that you knew quite well.”
““Well, I suppose I can let you off easy on this one,” 2Fs said. “In the second grade, I once studied so hard for a spelling test over the weekend, I forgot how to spell my name.”
I released a sigh of relief. “See, it’s not an age thing, it’s just a … thing.”
““Yeah, go on and keep telling yourself that, but as you age, it’s going to happen a lot more often.” Jeff honked his horn and shouted at another driver. “Do you remember your PIN now?”
““No, but I’m sure it’ll come to me.”
““Why don’t you just look at your banking records at home to confirm what it is?”
““Well, I’d have to remember where I put those banking records, wouldn’t I?” I conceded.
2Fs sighed. “I shall pray for you.”
I must admit, after I hung up, things felt pretty hopeless. Fortunately, it was a busy day and I soon forgot about it. It wasn’t until that night, as I was trying to heat up a Lean Cuisine that everything came around. I kept trying to punch in four minutes and 30 seconds into the microwave keypad, but the display showed something else. I rubbed my tired eyes, cleared the screen and tried again. It wasn’t until about the fifth time that I recognized I was trying to enter my PIN into the microwave.