Personal Software Development

Forgetting Something?


What, you ok?

Now I’m feeling bad for startling the Lyft driver

I mean we’re halfway to SFO already

Heading down 101 through the eucalyptus groves of the Presidio

Toward the tunnel

Which is a great place to get a speeding ticket

But I wouldn’t know anything about that

Besides I digress

See the problem at hand

Is that my flight to JFK is leaving in 90 minutes

And I’ve barely left enough time

Screw you Dad for always leaving plenty of time

Too much time

Twice as much time, sometimes even more!

But my old man was right

I cut it too close—


No room for error

And now we have an error—

A big one:

I left my wallet in San Anselmo

In Marin County

At least 30 miles north

And a 90-minute round trip—

Out of the way

Missing the flight is a certainty at this point

Or is it?

See it’s worth mentioning

That I have a really strange background

I’ve said and done all kinds of weird and crazy shit

Went to UC Berkeley when I was still in high school 

Smoked and drank a lot of stuff

Nearly got myself kicked out of Stanford

Traveled all over the world on business

And sometimes pleasure—

Often both

Had a wife but she ran me out of town—

Definitely a story for another time

Also I built the tech for a dark horse presidential campaign

And before that spent seven years at CIA

People who don’t know any better call it “The CIA”

See now that’s how you can tell

Just like you can tell if someone is from Los Angeles

When they say “The 101”

So that was a very different version of me—

The CIA version

In fact at the time

I was happy to serve my country

And I’m proud of what we built—

And what we did with it

But I became less happy a few years later

After moving back to San Francisco

When the government of California

Decided to turn my bicycle accident

Into The Crime of the Century

Now I realize CIA and CA

Are two different entities

And perhaps I’m throwing the baby out with the bathwater

But my experience

Being the subject of a high profile criminal prosecution

For a goddamn accident

A bicycle accident

Changed how I feel about government

About authority—

And that’s a really nice way to put it

So how I fiercely protected my privacy at CIA

Then had a complete loss of privacy

As I was tarred and feathered

By local national and global media?

That made me paranoid

I mean really fucking paranoid

I’ve even talked to doctors about it

And they say no it’s okay

You’re the right level of paranoid

Which is not helpful

But I understand what they mean

Because thinking that people are out to get me

Is actually perfectly normal—

When they are

As it turns out exploring the depths of my paranoia

Jogs my memory

And it occurs to me

That in my laptop bag

Sitting right there next to me in the Lyft

Hidden deep inside an inner liner

I had placed a small blue pouch

With a zipper down the middle

And a tiny belt loop

Meant to be worn inside shorts or pants

Like a sealed interior pocket—

Concealed from wandering hands

In the little pouch:

A miniature Moleskine journal

(The cover embossed with “Good Grammar is Sexy”)

(Because it is)

A ballpoint pen, safe for air travel

A condom, safe for penis travel

The US Constitution, pocket-sized

An encrypted thumb drive with passwords for everything—

And my perfectly valid unexpired passport

Do you want me to turn around?

No! Keep going, we’re good

With a US passport I can probably get to Tibet

So I figure I can also probably get to New York

And if I can get to New York

Then I can probably figure out the rest

My irrational confidence

Fighting a tug-of-war with my paranoia—

My very rational paranoia

First off I have to figure out how to pay for this Lyft

That actually isn’t bad

Between Apple Wallet

And Paypal


And all my apps

I can spend money online no problem

The real world—

As it turns out

Can be a little more complicated 

Don’t need to rent a car

Good because my driver’s license is 3,000 miles away

Metro Card?

Apple Pay

So I manage to make it to the hotel

A cute place in TriBeCa

The room is already paid for

But trouble ensues anyway

They insist upon running an imprint of a physical credit card

You know for damages and stuff

I have practically everything else in the world

Other than a physical credit card

Because it’s tucked neatly next to my drivers license—

3,000 miles away

I explain the forgotten wallet

Hotel policy, you know

I realize I’m getting nowhere

So I call in a favor

A couple of my coworkers are staying in the same hotel

Before long I get one of them on the phone

And he kindly lets them use his card

For damages

So I trash the hotel room

No I don’t do that!

What kind of a person do you think I am?

Anyhow I manage not to have too much trouble

Spending money in New York City without a wallet

Apple Pay and Apple Wallet go a long way—

Even in 2014

And some restaurants and stores—

Worst case

Actually allow me to read them my credit card number

While others give me attitude

But hey it’s New York City—

If you don’t like this place

Fuggin’ go to the one next door

Every one of my trips here

Whether good, bad, or meh

Involves acquiring a dozen bagels

And a tub of whitefish salad—

If at all possible

This is too important of a mission—

And I have a return flight to catch

Finding a bagel joint is the easy part

I mean come on this is New York City

But it’s crowded inside

Peak bagel time

A bit chaotic

I struggle to imagine how I’m going to pull off

Reading my credit card number out loud

In a room full of New Yorkers

Angry about bagels

(They’re always angry about something)

Then a light bulb goes off in my head

You know the proverbial one

And I opt for the sure thing:

I step outside and find a quiet spot—

No easy feat in New York City

But I do my best

Then I grab my phone

Look up the number of the bagel joint

The one I’m standing right in front of

So I call them

Placing my take-out order

And reading my credit card information to them

From right outside

Just me and some very healthy-looking pigeons

(The smartest ones go for the everything bagels)


Washington Square Park farmer’s market, 2016. I know it’s not pumpernickel.

A few hours later

I push that silver button

It seems only found on airplanes—

You know the one that reclines the seat back

And I sink my teeth into a fresh pumpernickel bagel

A thick band of whitefish salad oozing out

Ever so slightly

Like a sickly tongue

Making a sizable mess

But absolute perfection in my mouth

As I fly west back to San Francisco

The endless sunset painting the cabin’s drab grays

In lush gradients of brown and pink

What strange and discordant circumstances from the past

Whether seen at the time as good, bad, or meh

Converged in such a way

That made it possible for me

To fly from San Francisco to New York City—

And back

Without my wallet

Now just because you can—

Doesn’t mean you should

For the record

I advise carrying at a bare minimum:

Multiple forms of ID

More than one credit card

An ATM card

And a good chunk of cash when traveling

Or else YMMV

And how much your mileage may vary

Depends upon what you forget