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Atoke’s Awkward Banter: Does the World Stop When You Lose Your Wallet?

Atoke

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I remember the night I lost my iPod. My colleague had dropped me off at the foot of the bridge at Oshodi and I was strolling home. I was listening to music, earphones plugged in- a bid to separate me from the madness around me. The Oshodi bridge is always a nightmare and I just wanted to get home, cloaked in my personal solitude.
Then, the music stopped mid track. Hmm, strange, I thought. I was sure I had charged the battery fully before I left the office, so I reached into my bag to press play. My earphones were simply dangling. The iPod was gone. After years of living safely and securely at Oshodi, I was finally robbed – of the one thing that mattered very much to me.

I remember how it happened, when it happened and where it happened.
My wallet did not give me the same privilege, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Where was I going to start looking? Heck, I didn’t even know it was lost until one fine day, standing at the check out stop to buy paper towels. I reached into my bag to pull out the wallet and my hand met air – just like it did on the stolen iPod night.

If you’ve ever lost a wallet or a handbag, you’ll know the stress that comes with it. The thought of having to replace everything is simply headache inducing. I didn’t have money in it, but that wasn’t even so much of a relief. The world has gone paperless. 95% of cards that meant something to me were in it.
I was determined not to panic. I really tried hard. I casually mentioned it to my roommates, to people at work, to the security guards at the gate house. Casually- you know? Nothing to indicate a sense of panic.

Inside my chest though, it was hard to quench the feeling of: Yepa, Credit Card mi, OHIP card, Photo ID, BoA & Barclays. Ye! MOGBE, where do I wanna start with GTB & First Bank? Oh God, my library card and my Starbucks card (listen, don’t judge. Those are two of my favorite places in the world!) Anyway, back to the story of my faux calmness at the loss of this wallet.

When was the last time you saw it? Everyone asked.

Walmart, but I remember vividly putting it in my bag.

Hmmm, but I did not have my bag with me that day. In fact, I didn’t have any bag. I had only planned to dash to the post office and back, before the spirit of shopping reminded me I had run out of ginger. Plus, being the cheapskate that I am (I choose to see it as being a saviour of the environment ) I didn’t want to pay for bags at the store.
So did I put my wallet in those transparent plastic bags? Did it fall down? If it did, won’t I have heard the clatter as it landed on the floor?
I woke up everyday thinking about my foolishness , yet still convinced I would find it.

Two and half weeks later, I have still not found it; and boy have I tried! I’ve been to every lost and found counter in my locale: Seen a long, black, leather wallet? It’s faux-croc skin and unbranded. No, I don’t know the last time I saw it. Okay, this is my number. Yes, thank you. Please call me if someone turns it in.

It reminded me of when my iPod was stolen. One of my family friends said he knew the Baba’sale (godfather) of the Oshodi Underworld and all we needed to do was just go pay homage, and the stolen item would be returned.
Baba’sale wanted to know how long I lived in Oshodi. Wasn’t I aware I had to clutch my belongings firmly to my chest, while walking past? Especially on the bridge, at night! Haba, Sisi! Again, he asked if I just moved to Oshodi.

The person who helped himself to the iPod had made a swift trade. Baba’sale apologized and encouraged me to come sooner next time I have something stolen. He liked me, he would do everything to help.
He then told me not to be careless with my things again. Before nko? Lesson learned.

I thanked him, just like I thanked the security guard at the Mall last week, accepted the truth. It was time to start rebuilding what was lost.

First stop: the bank.
You need your card number to access online banking to block your cards. Urgh, how am I going to provide you with a number of a card I want to report missing? After multiple frustrated attempts punching the 0 key on my phone, I finally got to speak to an agent.

Maa’m, we have blocked your cards but you need to go to a banking centre with two pieces of ID to get a replacement.
Was he not listening? I lost my wallet. I do not have TWO pieces of ID. At best, I have ONE – my passport.
Sheesh!

It has been an utter pain, but I have been able to start acquiring the pieces of my lost wallet. When the fear of the impending GTB & First Bank stress came up, I quickly squashed it with shopping therapy. Afterall, I am kuku going to need a new wallet to put all these new shiny cards back in.

If you’ve ever lost your handbag or wallet, let’s hold hands and form a support group. Please share your experience and how you got everything back – if you ever did.

P.S
I lost the picture of my nieces, and now I’m going to have to grovel at their mother’s feet to send me new ones. What a bummer!

Another P.S
After my iPod got stolen, I learned the lesson about hyper security at Oshodi. You may call it paranoia, but when you are at Oshodi, ma lo nogere; Obesere said it in his songs. I should have listened to that instead of the Maroon Five I was blasting that evening.

Peace, love & celery sticks.

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore.Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

36 Comments

  1. Ms_muse

    July 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Atoke is baaaack!!! Dancing azonto here! We missed you loads.
    Sorry about your wallet. I hope your conversation with GTB and FBN customer care goes well…..hehehe

  2. Alterego

    July 24, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    You have a way with words, Atoke. That is all I can say. And this:
    The world stopped for me when I was robbed of my laptop and phone same night. In my house. By a young man wielding a machete. He covered his face with a large handkerchief. I lived on the ground floor. He walked into my bedroom telling me not to say or word or I wouldn’t have arms again. I was in my jaaaamies (lol). I told myself: this is the day I will be raped, surely I would die. I imagined the machete cutting into my flesh. And imagined the pain. He picked up my laptop, my phone. I didn’t cry out. All I thought was: God please, let him not remember I am a woman. Let him not touch me.
    After he left, I laid on the bed, willing myself not to have a full blown heart attack. Fear blanketed itself around me. I said surely he would come back. I remember repeating, whispering: Please God. Please God. Ten minutes later, alive and functioning. I went to a neighbour’s flat and knocked on the door to tell them I had just been robbed.

    • Ephi

      July 25, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Alterego and these her jaaaammmmies ehn 🙂
      That must have been such a horrible experience, glad your prayer was answered and he only took the items.

  3. marvel

    July 24, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    I like alterego already…

    • Mr Man

      July 24, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      You aren’t the only one!

  4. Bisqo

    July 24, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Welcome baaaaccckkkkk Atoke….
    I have missed you like kilode!!!
    Hope the shopping therapy helped…

  5. Mr Man

    July 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    You aren’t the only one!

  6. Anon

    July 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Two pieces of ID? Is this a North American thing? (America and Canada.) Just one is enough – your passport or your driving licence. In fact, in the UK all you need to do is a) call your bank/go to your bank, b) go through security questions and voila you will get new cards in 3-5 working days. Before your cards arrive, the banks can give you a code you can use in the interim if you want money from a cash point machine/ATM. In some other banks, once you have passed the security questions, they will give you a piece of paper to write your name and sign. Then they will give you cash.

    I think I will lose myself before I ever lose my wallet. 🙂

    • Rubby

      July 24, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      U say that now, coz u have never lost ur wallet, if u do lose it..hopefully not.. Or any other thing for that Matter..you’ll think you’ll faint, die or what not… I dunno where the ability to survive “even this” comes from…sheer human nature,and yes the world jus carries on like a loved one didn’t just die, like ur car wasn’t just stolen, like you didn’t just loose ur job and yes like u didn’t just loose ur wallet…. U have two choices…one day @ a time or high blood pressure…

  7. Chinma Eke

    July 24, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I was robbed some years ago in Enugu. Lol, I emphasise Enugu because I felt after living in Lagos all my life I shouldn’t be susceptible to such. But it did happen, I was robbed by a two man gang.
    The good thing is I was calm through the experience, but broke down after and had a good cry. Pain at what was stolen, relief and gratitude to God that it was just a robbery joined together and the flood gates were let loose.
    I did get everything that was stolen back, it took a while but I did get it back. Some things in double fold.
    There’s just thus disbelief; like did this just happen? And then the post-experience fear! It’s a bad experience to have.

  8. Chinma Eke

    July 24, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I was robbed some years ago in Enugu. Lol, I emphasise Enugu because I felt after living in Lagos all my life I shouldn’t be susceptible to such. But it did happen, I was robbed by a two man gang.
    The good thing is I was calm through the experience, but broke down after and had a good cry. Pain at what was stolen, relief and gratitude to God that it was just a robbery joined together and the flood gates were let loose.
    I did get everything that was stolen back, it took a while but I did get it back. Some things in double fold.
    There’s just thus disbelief; like did this just happen? And then the post-experience fear! It’s a bad experience to have.
    PS: Where’s our awkward guide?

  9. Adenike

    July 24, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Atoke! Hellur!
    I am a bonafide member of this support group, but I’ve also had my “heavenly interventions”.

    I remember when my mum handed down her phone, (my first new phone) to me in SS1…Sony Ericsson to be precise. The next morning, the battery was flat as there was no light all through the night but I felt like “forming” , and I had just recorded Jojo’s Leave song and made it my ringtone. My world was perfect. So I went to school with it (being contraband), and my skirt didn’t have a pocket, so I gave my friend/classmate to keep it for me in her skirt that had a pocket. Fast forward to the end of school, I’m asking my friend for my phone and she’s saying she can’t find it. My world stops and I cannot even scream at her, I’m just searching frantically for the phone. It so happened that during a class, she emptied her pockets into her Table locker (including my phone), and forgot to put my phone back into her skirt when she left the class. By the time she got back to the locker, of course, it had vanished.
    After making two trips back into school from the car park, my mum’s driver comes to pick me up and I tell him matter-of-factly to go home, as it’s better that I’m “lost with the phone” than go home. Obviously, my mum hears about it some hours later and orders her driver to go back to school and bring me home.

    My laptop has also been stolen at the airport. It happened at the security screening machine. Two identical laptop bags, swapped and for some reason the owner is nowhere to be found. All that is in the laptop bag left for me is a change of clothes and wad of cash that has a market value of not more than 20k (to exaggerate let’s say 50k). How much is my laptop?- about 180/200k.

    Since then (well if you subtract the time I threw my laptop on the floor (I thought it was a chair) because of an almost-fire incident in my hostel), I have prayed on all newly acquired gadgets. That is why my iPhone 6 stayed firmly on the car roof even as we were driving and looking for it in Ibadan. Yes we passed the busy Ring Road. I found it after 30 minutes of frantic searching and going to previous stops. How no one saw the phone- somebody say Olowogbogboro!! Also, about 3 weeks ago, I left my phone on the countertop at the bank, I realised after five minutes of driving that it wasn’t with me. At that point, I stopped seeing the traffic signs, like, who cares about traffic signs when your phone (that you can’t afford to buy because you got it as a gift) is nowhere to be found??? I parked, raced into the bank, trying to be as calm as possible, and asked a cashier to ask the cashier who attended to me if he had seen my phone….
    People of God, he had seen it and signalled that he was coming to give it to me. That is how I left the bank with my heart intact, singing praises to God, and came with a token of appreciation during my next visit to the bank.

    Ha! Did I forget to mention that at another branch of the aforementioned bank, a huge sum of money was stolen from my car (that was locked), sometime last year…

    LOL! No matter how many times this heart stops, it has to start again.

  10. Miini

    July 25, 2017 at 12:01 am

    I lost my wallet with 13k and ALL my ID, ATM and Voters card while I was a student. I was dazed for days and kept hoping some miracle will happen; someone will just bring it to the hospital or call me or something. This was just a some months after my almost brand new phone was stolen. Man the world practically stood still. Kept going back in slow motion….where, when, how? Omo the universe no gree answer my questions o. Had to file a police report and with time u just gba kamu. It was fairly easy to get bank cards replaced bt I’ve been mostly ID-less since then until recently when I got my driver’s license. Not a good experience at all.

  11. Kokoro Dudu

    July 25, 2017 at 12:37 am

    I read about someone who lost his passport during transits. Trust me, a wallet lost is child’s play!

    • Somborri

      July 25, 2017 at 7:19 am

      Yeepa! Nightmare!

  12. Mama

    July 25, 2017 at 1:22 am

    My luggage was stolen at one of the popular bus parks in Lagos. I wept like someone died; such a painful experience. Thank God there was nothing in there that couldn’t be replaced, Important tip: When traveling try not to lose sight of your luggage at any point in time, many of those touts hanging around pretending to help are thieves.

  13. Gee

    July 25, 2017 at 2:17 am

    D dayI lost my power bank in skul, my world came crashing. I can’t still get ova d fact dah I cried 4 days wen Iyam simply asked “where’s ur power bank?

  14. john

    July 25, 2017 at 7:46 am

    if u think losing ur wallet is bad then Imagine this: I was travelling from port-Harcourt to abuja ..I was travelling out the next day to Canada…when I reach Abuja and check in to my house ..lo and behold, the small bag that contained my passport and my company’s documents were missing..let me just stop here bcos it still gives me depression anytime I remember that episode

  15. Dame

    July 25, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Like some of the people that have dropped comments, like a former lagos girl i always bragged about how careful i was and could never be robbed.
    1 year, 2months ago …i was robbed of my blackberry PASSPORT….i still cry inside. I was going home in a cab and had wound the window up and left a little space for air…i was cautious like that…Abuja people you know IDU road, the road that leads to galadimawa roundabout …na so one man just slammed against my door and put his hand inside dat small space i left for air and snatched my fone and ran itno the bush….boy oh boy…i cried like a child…not just for the Phone which i had bought with almost all my savings lmao…i cried that a whole lagos girl had been robbed…oh my contacts…my PICTURES … since then….haaaaaa e be like say make i buy chain tie mu fone to my chest.

  16. demash

    July 25, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Oshodi-Oke!!!I remember my usual commute around there over a decade, alighting from a Danfo clutching my laptop bag like my life depended on it decades while going to check on my girlfriend after work in an audit firm. I never used to have a wallet cos I considered myself too careless to keep one. I did eventually get one and I lost it on 2 separate occasions at the airport. One time it was retrieved by the airline and the other time I had to give up after hoping and praying for a full month. One time my wife was returning from the UK and part of her luggage was stolen just outside the airport. As an Oshodi-Oke born and bred, she got to the Baba-Isale of the boys and a few days later her property, which included a keyboard she bought for our young son, was returned. I developed an awe for her and her Oshodi-Oke people from then on.

  17. Ms

    July 25, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I thought losing my phone once or my wallet getting emptied at the library was the height….. Not until my car got stolen last monday where it was parked. Did I look for it inside the gutter??? oh YES I DID!!! Just in case it shrunk and fell inside. Still yet to be found.

    • SHE

      July 25, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Forgive me but this is so funny, It actually has me in stitches. So sorry. Hope you find it.

    • AsMyself

      July 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      awww…I’m so sorry to hear. It can pain!

  18. Ephi

    July 25, 2017 at 9:33 am

    ***when you are at Oshodi, ma lo nogere; Obesere said it in his songs. I should have listened to that instead of the Maroon Five I was blasting that evening.***

    Atoke! You are soooo funny. I hope it wasn’t “Sugar” you were listening to, haha 😀

    Pele, it’s never a joke losing anything. I lost my ipad once at airport security and not only did it spoil my holiday, my life was not the same for the next few months. Too painful for words.

  19. Jenny

    July 25, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Oh my! Just remembered my wedding ring. I don’t like to wear any type of hand accessories including earnings most times( I’m soo uncomfortable with them). So I often take off my ring once I get to my destination ( could be anywhere like once I settle in the office or at home or once I get into my car to drive )
    I took it off one day and I’ve not found it till date. Just the thought makes me sad. I still wonder how else I could have avoided it?

    • Jezebel

      July 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Worn it on a chain around your neck?

  20. June

    July 25, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I was robbed one hot afternoon on my way to a student meeting. My brand new lady wallet, lecture notesssss! ( I was one of those veryyyyy detailed note takers) my beautiful second -hand bag I had bought a few days ago at a bus station- it was a steal that bag. The wallet was of such sentimental value. My cards then – student id and my Ecobank card. My brand new pen drive – my very first oh. I had only formatted it that very morning. Till today , we are talking many years and then some- the loss of those notes still leave me feeling some type of way. ???

  21. Ayni

    July 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    When I was younger, #100,00 was stolen from my Mum’s hand bag at Oshodi. Then, Oshodi was very rough. The bag was cut open and the money was stolen. When my mum got to where she was to buy her goods and she discovered all the money was gone, she just sat down on the ground and started crying. Thank God for GSM. She would have trekked home.

  22. anon

    July 25, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    I lost my wallet once, on the bus just outside London at rush hour. I had about £40 in it but that was the least of my worries. I just wanted allllll my cards back. I immediately called the bus company to report my wallet missing then proceeded via mobile banking apps to block my bank cards. However, the stress of replacing all my other cards still bothered me. Fortunately, I got a call from the bus company two days later saying my wallet had been handed in at the bus station. I turned up the next day and to my utmost surprise, everything was intact. Like, not even 1p was missing from my wallet. I was really impressed because at the very least, I expected the cash to be gone.

  23. africhic

    July 25, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    My car window was smashed by robbers one evening on my way home.My handbag, books tablets and all my ID stolen. the only thing that was left were my phones cos it fell from my laps. I couldn’t even get into my flat i had to break the door. Not a pleasant memory.

  24. halo bae

    July 25, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    I don’t know which was more painful? Was it losing my s6 edge phone cos I was charging it on my desk at work and left to have lunch in the kitchen, after searching everywhere ..I asked for the CCTV so I could know who stole it,guess what !my colleague says d CCTV is having issues and the control guys must not know. I felt so angry and cried for days .Finally got an s7 and 13 days later I had issues with my car and took the public transport ,I entered one chance to work,boy did I cry…., Anyway my cards was taken and i had to give out my pin to them as they were 7 men to just me in the bus,they took my cash ,brand new phone but I moved on.now I’m using a cheap phone. .something that won’t hurt me if I lose it…..losing things is never fun.

  25. Biola

    July 25, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    lost my wallet as a corper in Abuja. I was staying with my cousin on the ground floor flat and woke up one morning to find that my wallet was missing…. I eventually noticed the fly screen in the bedroom window had be cut and my bag had been on a nearby table, shoot! It was hell getting my bank cards and worse still my NYSC ID back. I ended up crying at point of trying to get a police report and the officers were just acting useless…. I was asked to pay for the sheet of paper I used to write my account of theft!!! Imagine! After the hassle of getting all my stuff back, I woke up another morning-about 3weeks later to find my wallet at my doorstep. The thief had returned it, everything intact other than the about 2k cash I had in it. I felt like crying again.

  26. Me Myself and I

    July 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I lost my engagement ring a month to our wedding. It was a busy day for me, so I didn’t even notice the ring wasn’t on my hand till i was driving home at night around 9pm. I had spent the evening at a friend’s studying for an exam. When I noticed, the first thing I did was make a u turn and drive back to her house. Checked everywhere, ring wasn’t there. It was too late to go back to the places I had been during the day, so I had to put the search on hold till morning. I prayed about the matter, but I was so worried to be honest. Longest night ever!

    First thing the next morning the search begun. I went to a tailor’s shop I stopped by first, before they emptied the trash from the previous day. Shop was still locked. I sat at the door peeping through the glass door. Every shiny accessory looked like my ring. I was hopeful.. Someone eventually came to open the shop. We searched everywhere. Nothing.

    Next stop was a buka where my friends and I had lunch. I asked the attendants if they saw a ring on any table. Nothing. I asked where the bin was so I could search. This I found hilarious, as I get irritated by dirt very easily. See as engagement ring had humbled me. Anyway I was told it had been emptied.

    I accepted my fate and decided to drive to my fiance’s house to tell him about the ring. I was in tears. I knew it cost him a lot to buy that ring. That man has been making sacrifices for me since 19thatyear. The ring was part of a set together with actual the wedding bands still at the jewelers so you can imagine. We could’t even afford a new set before the wedding as there were so many bills to take care of.

    Halfway there I remembered my friends and I had stopped at a car park within a church premises to take pictures as we hadn’t seen each other in a while. I decided to drive there though it seemed unlikely. It is a large car park, and I couldn’t remember the exact spot we parked the previous day. I sha drove in and parked at a random spot where I could begin my search. As soon as I opened the door, behold there was my ring on a kerb beside a pile of dirt staring at me! Talk about divine direction. Apparently the cleaners were sweeping the car park, and someone must have seen it and kept it aside. I spent a few minutes staring at the ring in disbelief and thanking God. A car must have driven over it as the ring was broken in two, and I lost a few stones. It didn’t matter. I was soo relieved. Thankfully the jeweler fixed the broken part for free and the missing stones were the smaller ones.

  27. aj

    July 27, 2017 at 2:46 am

    wow at the stories in the comments. I cant relate to my wallet getting stolen or lost because it hasn’t happen to me before I pray it never does. I feel bad for you guys. However, I lost my basic phone when I was in a taxi in Connecticut going to the greyhound station. I wore a hoodie with a huge front pocket and it slipped out. I don’t even know how I did it when i got to the greyhound station. My mum was so worried and was asking about me from the ticket agent. The ticket agent even knew my name when she saw me.

  28. Unbothered

    July 27, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    If i share my story, I will get emotional. Lost my wallet and phone few days to my final exams when i was in the university. I was weak! It was stolen at a FYB Dinner I attended. The pain i felt was unexpected. All my cards, money, my new phone, everything, gone. Took me months to get over it. A couple of years later, My house was burgled and my laptop stolen, they missed my phone because i was sleeping on it. As a writer, I was crushed. 5 years of work, gone like that.

    And then, in 2105, I had the Oshodi experience. Was trying to get into a bus with other people, as i got in and sat down, behold, my bag felt unusually light, checked and voila! Wallet had gone. I just jejely asked the driver to stop and came down. Called a friend to come and take me home. I told myself, i will not cry.

  29. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    August 1, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Eeya. Na so my Nokia Xpress Music take loss for CMS. One minute music was playing and the next it had stopped with the earphones still in place. Three men or so stood looking at me with stern expressions. I just waka jejely commot the place, enter tantalizers to eat my sorrow away then cancelled my journey and went back home.

    It happened again at Oshodi but baba God said not today and I got the phone back before the thief ran away….I think he was a learner sha

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