First full day back in LA.
Aka: the productive day.
Equipped with countless to do lists (I have to record everything in at least 3 places to actually remember maybe half of my tasks) I set out bright and early to get everything in place for my now busy January. Now, I know I am not alone in this...who else gets off on the feeling of getting simple tasks done? I filled my gas tank and the feeling of pride and accomplishment was nothing short of what it probably feels like to send your first born off to school with a proper lunch! I skipped the car wash (on account of possible rain here, which never happens but ends up fucking up a good car wash anyway) and I headed straight to the bank.
The fucking bank. It's not a place I like to be. Any place where money is the subject, intent, or course of action is not a place I usually like to be. To make sense of this, here is a brief history of my relationship with the dollar bill.
I am the youngest of three kids. I was born and raised pretty much in an entirely different generation that my older siblings. Love them to death, they taught me everything I know, but I had a much different upbringing than them. A giant part of this being the influence of our families wealth. As I've stated before, that isn't my story to tell. But I can say that I was the child most directly affected by my parents late life surge of mula. Opportunities, travel, luxury, and support were the building blocks of the life I've always known. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not complaining one bit about the cushy lifestyle bestowed upon me, but as with everything, the blessing comes with a curse. That curse for me was never really learning the value of a buck. Never really understanding the discipline, systems, and boundaries of what earning money and saving money really meant. I have worked... oh trust me, I've tried everything. I'll save my work history for another day, but needless to say, money never drove me the way it does for the majority of the world who don't think twice about making it to survive. This concept has haunted me and will probably continue to creep up on me as I grow old, because once you know something, it takes a very long time to reprogram your brain to see it differently. But I've tried, and I am trying and I will continue to try until I finally figure it out.
I'm just still finding my voice.
But enough about me, back to the bank. After months of saving up hard earned checks, I finally strolled into the bank ATM to deposit them. What event could possibly go down whilst simply depositing some checks, right?! Well... about half way through my transaction, I start to notice the disgruntled sighs of the middle aged woman next to me. I don't mean the kind of sigh that comes out when you drop your fork on the ground, I'm talking the kind of huffing and puffing that occurs when you're forced to hull the trash out to the dumpster and the bag breaks across your antique rug and you realize it's raining. [Or for my pop culture readers, think back to the Wet Hot American Summer movie classic: when Paul Rudd is forced to clean up his cafeteria mess in a series of heavy vocal emissions.]
Grunts aside, this woman for some reason could not get her checks into the ATM as efficiently as she apparently was hoping to do. She dropped her papers multiple times, fumbled to get her card in the machine, and cursed at the screen until I was convinced that she was communicating with an unseen ATM force that had stood her up on their last date and was
crawling back for a desperate reprieval. So, I'm standing next to her, trying really hard not to get involved because she clearly was not having the best morning...
I know this because she said it out loud. Twice.
And as I felt her toxic energy almost invade me, I took a deep breath, retrieved my card and walked away. But as I was heading towards the door, and she was still stuck in frustration, I quickly turned back around and uttered:
"You got this. Good luck."
She was confused at first as to who the fuck I was throwing this comment at. Until she locked eyes with me and laughed. As I exited, and right before the door closed, I heard her let out an exalted cry of relief that the ATM had finally thrown her a bone and ate her checks. And I could sense right away that she was thankful for ANYONE to notice the apparent pain this ATM was putting her through. So I'm sitting in my car thinking...
Lady, next time just go to the counter. AND: WOW. This is the effect money can have on people, and I'm considered the outsider for my views on this...?!
This wasn't my only run in with the green gravy for the day. After the bank, I jetted over to the grocery store. For the second time, as I told you, I rarely remember the entirety of my lists so I have to accept that sometimes a second store run must be done. So I go back to the store to pick up flowers and lemons. (Tip for living: always have fresh flowers in your house- especially if you live alone because hey, it's another speck of life around you and lemons cleanse your gut so always have one on hand.) Here's the rub, as I'm walking in and out for a second time, I notice the same younger female pedaling for charity money at the door. She had an inviting smile and a warm demeanor, and as I walked in the store knowing she was definitely going to recognize me... I told her I would have a present for her when I came out. Mind you, I had no cash, no change, and honestly no intention of getting some at that moment. Once I had purchased all my flowers and somehow balanced them all in my arms en route to the car, I walked out past the girl who smiled and said this:
"Wow, those are beautiful! Are they for your mom?!"
.....no, they are not for my mom (sorry mom), but the sincerity and the humility of her words inspired me. So I packed the flowers in my car and recalled that I had told her I would bring her a present. So I plucked the best looking white rose from the bunch and as I tapped her on the shoulder for her to turn towards me, I noticed her eyes light up before she had even processed what I was doing.
"This is for you. Though I have no money to contribute at this moment, I want you to know that your patience in standing here despite probably receiving very little is commendable. Enjoy your present."
This girl almost cried. Then I almost cried. Then we almost cried together in front of the grocery store where countless hipsters and young moms silently scanned the pair of us looking for some reason behind the interaction. But there was none. I didn't have money to offer the girl, but I had beauty and sentiment to offer. And she was touched! I was like the ATM who wouldn't help out the middle aged curmudgeon. When both the woman and the young girl stopped expecting the money to flow, something wonderful happened. They both got what they needed. They both were rewarded. My point is this: money talks, but actions scream. Had that woman not taken her attention from the machine to look at me just for a split second, she may have well kicked in the money box. And had that girl been more eager in pan handling for more money, she may have never appreciated a simple flower.
Now, I'm not saying money isn't important or that these daily occurrences aren't something to get pissed about, but when we were created, was money there? Hmm, I don't think so. When money was brought into the picture, we as humans changed. We became more possessive, more primal, more greedy, and definitely more jaded. It doesn't really matter where money lives in your world, having patience and compassion behind all money related experiences is vital to retaining that little speck of decency we're all fighting to hold onto. If I can offer anything based off my observations, it's this:
PAITENCE LEADS TO POWER, GREED LEADS TO LOSS.
And the next time your ATM isn't working, just try a new one.