Sunday, November 7, 2010

Losing my money and my mind

Ever have one of those days where you just seem to be mentally off? You can't find things, you knock stuff over, you forget what you were doing, and you feel generally cloudy and confused? That's more or less my life, but it was particularly and bizarrely bad yesterday, probably stemming from the long and exhausting week I had.

The highlight/lowlight of this phenomenon yesterday came as I was doing laundry. I'd gone to the grocery store and had the foresight to buy a roll of quarters. The basement of my building has a few washers and dryers that require quarters, but naturally there is no change machine, so it takes a little planning to make sure one has ample quarters, and since I had four loads of laundry to do, this meant needing to 44 quarters:

[(4 washer loads x 1.50 dollars/load) + (4 dryer loads x 1.25 dollars/load)] x 4 quarters/dollar = 44 quarters.

After I'd begun, I did something I never do, which is to trust in humanity and leave my quarters in the basement. I hid them deep in the laundry bag, thinking, "Surely no kind of sleazeball would actually scour a sack of dirty clothes in the hopes of scoring some change!" But when I returned and transferred some wet clothes into a dryer and then put some dirty clothes into a washer and covered them in goo, I discovered I could not find my quarters. I had no change.

Remembering that there's a change machine at my school that takes $5 bills, I scuttled over there in a hasty fashion, only to discover that it was not accepting my $5 bills, which were those newfangled Monopoly-esque $5 bills. So I started shoving in $1 bills, but sadly received a frustrating mix of quarters and useless nickels. Lacking the sufficient $0.25 pieces to complete my household chore -- and all the while dreaming of the day I will be back in New York, dumping my bag of clothes off at a nearby full-service wash-and-dry facility and never having to deal with this nonsense again -- I needed to go elsewhere, so I walked to the nearby wine store and begged for a roll. To butter them up, I also bought a bottle of cheap white wine. I explained what had happened because I thought they would find it amusing, and they said, more or less, that "This is New Haven" and I was an idiot for leaving money anywhere, even if it was hidden. They are correct. My roommate and I later shared the wine over a fantastic dinner of tilapia, risotto and Brussels sprouts.

Armed with a new roll of quarters, I continued my laundry. About an hour later, when I returned to move the newly washed clothes into a dryer, I noticed a layer of shiny circles on the bottom of the washer. They were quarters. I had, apparently, tossed my money into the washing machine with my clothes. They smelled fresh, at least.

The moral is that I am my own worst enemy, the thief of my own hard-earned funds, and that my actions are often ill-informed.

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