I have a coin bowl. I know its typically a coin jar, people choose a jar and when they come home, they throw their extra change in the jar and eventually they cash it in for paper money. Mine is a bowl. A pretty bowl that I bought at a stoop sale to throw my costume jewelry in, but it became a combo of change and jewelry and, eventually, I picked out the jewelry and let the coins have it. I cashed in my coins in August. For a good three months, my coin bowl had been overflowing. I’d have to gingerly place a quarter and a few pennies on the top of the pile only to hear a monetary avalanche seconds later. Most people would pick up the mess right away or at least within a few hours. Not me. There were numerous avalanches resulting in approximately five dollars worth of change on my bedroom floor, where it stayed for at least three weeks. Some mornings I would sip my coffee and peel pennies and nickels off the bottom of my bare feet, and think “maybe I’ll get a pedicure today” not “I should go pick up that mess”. The day I decided to cash in my coins, I poured the bowl into a plastic Stinky cheese shopping bag; I even picked up the coins off the floor, giving an audible sigh with every squat. Honestly, I ended up kicking a few quarters under the bed. They’d be a nice surprise someday.
I walked up to TD Bank, which is not where I do my banking, but they have the only coin counting machine in my neighborhood. I get there to find 3 other adults with a light schedule on a Tuesday morning, looking to cash in their secret stash. One of them said, “The machine’s broken, we’re waiting for the guy.” “OK, thanks” I said back. I stopped myself from asking any questions. I wanted to say, “Did someone go get the guy?” “Where is the guy coming from?” “Is the machine definitely broken?” “How long have you guys been here?” Etc. You can see where I was going with this. “How shitty of a situation are we in?” line of questioning. Instead of exposing my “we’re fucked” mentality, I paced around. I put my bag of coins down. I waited. Silently. Well, I gave a few frustrated sighs, I admit it. Eventually the guy comes and unplugs the machine and plugs it back in. Seriously? You couldn’t Walkie Talkie that instruction? Now that the machine was back in action the security guard decided he should make sure nobody broke it again and began micro managing each person and the way they were pouring their coins. Too fast. Too slow. Too much on the right, not enough on the left. I’m already planning my behavioral response to his hovering and commentary, the cold shoulder. It’s my go to. When it was my turn. I gave him a closed mouth smile, picked up my bag and started pouring. “Whoa whoa whoa, slow down! That’s too much at once you gotta take some out of there, and you gotta take out all those bobby pins and, what are those? Pills? Get them out of there”
I ended up with 107.87. I took my receipt to the teller who informed me there was an 8% service charge for people who didn’t have accounts there. He added, “Do you want to proceed?” I said “What’s the alternative, you give me back my coins in the same combination I came in with?”
“I could open an account for you, and you could deposit the $107.87 today and avoid the 8% service fee” he said with a “there’s your fuckin alternative, sweetheart” tone.
“Well, that’s more money than I have in the bank account I already have” I said, trying to get back on his good side. He maintained eye contact without a facial response. “I think I’d like to proceed, I accept the service fee” I got the impression opening new accounts was either something he liked to do or was supposed to try to do because he was clearly done with the customer service part of his job.
“How would you like your ninety nine dollars and twenty four cents?” he asked while checking out a girl waiting in line. That sorta pissed me off. Not that I was interested in him, AT ALL, but it gave me the feeling he was trying to rush me along so he could try to open a new account for the next girl.
“How about $90 dollars in quarters, $5 in dimes, and you choose the rest” I would have said if we had become buds but no, all he wanted was to open a new account and I wasn’t doing it. “big bills” I said while looking for a guy I could check out and simultaneously realizing I just made it seem like I thought $99.24 translated into big bills, plural.
He gave me my money. I wanted to count it but I also wanted to seem aloof so I just said “have a great day” with a bit of a tude and sashayed away in the same tshirt I had worn to bed the night before.
As I was walking past the security guard, he said “You left some pills on the machine”
“You can have them” I said and he laughed.
I looked back to see if the teller had witnessed me killing it with the security guard but he was handing a pamphlet to the next girl.
I haven’t stepped on any change in my room lately but I did peel a dried up raisin off my foot the other day, after I had gone running with it in my sock. I felt bad for the little guy. Not only did he die a lonely death on my bedroom floor while all his friends and family were in my belly, but then I took his dried up remains and ran two miles on him.
I’m a raisin oppositionary now.
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.