I got paid on Wednesday. I swiftly transferred part of my paycheck into our joint account without thinking. Habit. However, a few days later, in between unpacking lunchboxes, I checked the balance of our account, and it didn’t look right. I clicked to get a closer look. Where was the money I had transferred? Upon closer inspection, I found it in one of my kids’ savings accounts. I was unable to transfer it out online. If that doesn’t give you enough of a glimpse into the multitasking of my brain…just wait.
Knowing I couldn’t get to the bank any time soon, I decided to call. As soon as I was put through to a human, some unfairness occurred, and Rose was screaming at the top of her lungs. I opened the front door and stepped outside, trying to find quiet. The woman on the line asked for my name and address. She asked for my account number, which I had thankfully scribbled on a post-it. Then she asked me for the first four numbers of my social security number.
My mind went blank. I had no idea how this number began. I tried to pull it out of the mush that my brain had become, but the wailing from inside continued. “Give me a second,” I told the woman from the bank. Was it 160? No, that was my account number. I ran through all sorts of numbers, but none felt right. Panic set it. Was I losing my mind?
Accepting defeat, I told the woman on the other end of the line, “I’m going to have to call you back. There is a lot going on here right now.” A fresh set of cries echoed inside the house as I hung up. I’m certain that my account was now flagged for fraudulent activity.
I went inside to where my husband was making dinner. I stood at the island, relaying what had just happened, frantically scribbling numbers on the post-it I had been holding, desperately trying to remember my social security number. I couldn’t place it.
I finally succumbed to digging through our strong box until I found my social security card. Seeing those first few digits was like breathing a sign of relief. I knew this number….
I’ve been reciting it in my head, over and over, ever since.