Stoker and I have it worked out where each of us gets ten dollars a week to spend however we want. We both typically use it to buy a drink here or there, or some lunch (and by drink I mean non-alcoholic beverages). Stoker gets the money out of our account when he deposits his check because my check is direct-deposited. This morning he gave me my ten dollars, which was seven this time because last night I spent some of it on a one dollar sundae and some fries from McDonald's.
I put the money in my back pocket, as I'm wont to do and have done since childhood. These days I try to take better care of my money and often put it in my humongous wallet. But we were saying goodbye to each other and I was standing there with the car door open, about to leave for work. I didn't have time to do the responsible thing and put it in my wallet.
But see, I have on these damn corduroys I got at J.Crew. They have been a problem before. Countless times strangers have come up to me and said, "Excuse me, you're about to lose some money." At first I think they're being aggressive, maybe they're going to ask me for a ride or some money. But then they tell me I'm about to lose my money. And not because they're going to steal it.
So the problem, which I never really explained, is that these pockets suck. They don't hold onto anything. Receipts, paper, paper money, you name it. If I put it in, the money falls out. Once I lost a wad of money at Best Buy. I was so distraught. I called Best Buy on the chance someone had turned it in. They had! My hope for humanity was saved! I really couldn't believe it. It killed me that someone had turned in the money.
Today I was excited about lunch. I was going to go find a bagel shop and have a bagel sandwich. I love bagel sandwiches and it frustrates me that there's no Einstein's in Nashville. Because in addition to great sandwiches, they have the best pickles. And I love pickles (in case you're wondering, the second best place to get pickles is the White Owl, in Logan UT. They make them with jalapeños and they're delicious). Before I drove off in search of a bagel shop, I checked all my pockets, couldn't find the money, and then remembered that I hadn't moved the money from my pocket to my wallet! The money was gone and I cursed up a storm.
So, instead of a bagel for lunch, I got a preservative laden, sugar laden, very unhealthy cheese Danish at the gas station. Why? Because I was depressed that I'd lost the money. I know, I know. It's also unhealthy to indulge in unhealthy food when you're sad. You shouldn't do that. Do as I say, not as I do, and don't copy me.
I looked everywhere for the money. I returned to work and checked the bathrooms. For all I know, I'd flushed the money at some point without realizing it. Literally, 'money down the drain.' I decided to email the entire company about the lost money. I just knew the money was out there somewhere, trying to find its way back to me. But I had to go through the proper channels. I emailed the lady in charge of mass communication. I told her that I'd lost my weekly allowance and asked her if she could just send out a quick email to the entire company about it.
Then she called me. She said that she hadn't done her good deed for the day and the Lord has been kind to her, so she was going to leave the money for me underneath her keyboard. She was about to go to a meeting and she wanted me to go up there and pick it up while she was gone. She, herself, has always tried to live within a budget, she can respect that about me, and wanted to help out.
A part of me felt so stupid for making such a big deal about a trifle. It was seven dollars, after all. But when you make so little, seven dollars that you've allotted yourself seems like a lot. On the other hand, everything I make goes to me and Stoker, so it's not like we're neglected.
Really, it's the principle that matters. It's so stupid to lose your money. I mean to literally lose some physical cash. I bet you fifty thousand dollars that my mom hasn't lost a cent in twenty years. I mean, literally, literally misplaced it, or dropped it somewhere, or flushed it down the toilet. It's just not respectable to lose your money.
A part of me didn't want to take the lady's money. But I always tell people that part of helping others is accepting return kindness. I know it sounds stupid and probably selfish, but it's true. I think it's also a show of character to be able to accept it graciously. This is a subject I could discuss more, but the point is, it was difficult to swallow my pride regarding the money.
I went up to her office and found the money where she said she'd leave it. I felt like a thief and worried that if someone looked through the window of the door, they'd see me rooting around her desk while she wasn't there and turn me in to security. It was probably one of the strangest feelings I've ever had. At the same time, it made me think a lot about human kindness. Have you ever thought about how we're all we have? That if all people stopped being kind, there'd be no one left to be kind? I mean, Mother Nature isn't kind. Animals are not usually kind (though some will argue with this). Yes, God is kind, but God works through people, and that's why if each of us decided to stop being kind, there'd be no hope left.
It felt like this woman whom I have never met, wanted the kindness to be sort of faceless, to be a secret. I understand that. I still told her thanks in an email and told her that I try to be kind but sometimes I get hurried and impatient and sometimes I forget that there are hearts behind the faces. And I told her that her act made me feel better, not about the money but about humanity, and that I'll return the favor in the future, to someone else.
In the meantime, I plan to stitch up the back pockets of these stupid J.Crew pants and then I plan to sue J.Crew for damages*.
*I wonder who I can get to represent me. Does anyone know a lawyer who understands the importance of pants?