The morning after the night before, we are all prone to make silly mistakes. One New Year’s day, I woke up with a broken wrist and almost didn’t bother going to the doctor, more interested was I in getting a breakfast from McDonalds.
On this occasion, I’d woken up without too much of a hangover, just a lack of sleep and a missed opportunity to go to church. I visited a museum, ate some fried chicken and drank one of the surprisingly nice canned coffees available from Japanese vending machines.
Before getting the bus back to Mogi, I popped into a convenience store to use their ATM and withdraw some money which I knew I’d need for transport and accommodation the next day. I stood there listening to the machine beep for a quite a while before noticing that it was taking longer than usual to give me my cash.
At this point, I looked at the receipt: “incorrect PIN entered”.
I didn’t panic yet. I calmly took out my card and started again. Typo, right? I was tired.
The same thing happened again. I had painstakingly typed in my number. What was going on?
I left the shop and stumbled back to my hotel in a daze, heart racing. What had happened? Had I genuinely forgotten it?
I was frantically googling solutions. Could I pay for all of my transport and accommodation for the next day online, so I wouldn’t need my PIN?
Could I get my number sent to my home address, then get mum to call me and tell it to me?
How could I forget my number? I started thinking what else it could be. I eventually convinced myself that I’d gotten one digit wrong, that I’d confused this number with the one for signing in at an old job.
The next day, I found myself at a cash machine in another store, one I’d used successfully before, one I trusted.
I put in the alternative number.
The walls were closing in. I had no way to get to Kyoto, no way to pay the hostel when I got there. What was I going to do?
One last chance. I tried the original number, the one from the day before.
It all worked fine.
Turns out, the shop I’d tried at the start of all this, their ATMs don’t take foreign cards, but there’s no message on the receipts that says that so it just says incorrect PIN instead.
I’m never drinking again.