A Certain Special Feeling #903
We all know the feeling: You've got just enough in the bank to cover the rent, it's three days to payday, and you're down to your last five smokes.
You've looted the Cheez Whiz jar for its last few pennies, and an intensive search of the couch cushions has revealed a) that you eat McDonald's takeout way too often, and b) thirty-eight cents.
You can't afford smokes, so to keep your mind off of smoking the last five, rather than smoking them all in an effort to bait the Murphy trap (it is a law of the universe that when a smoker finishes a deck and is too broke to purchase more, he or she will soon run into a generous fried), you decide to actually DO stuff. The housework (or more properly apartmentwork, or possibly hovelwork) is the logical start point.
The dishes are stacked in the sink. And around the sink. And across the counter. And on the table. And indeed on most of the flat surfaces in the flat. Too intimidating. So you figure you might as well do your laundry. You begin to prepare the pile, turning t-shirts inside out with the practised ease of a lifelong coastal fisherman gutting crabs, or barnacles, or whatever it is that lifelong coastal fisherpersons gut.
When suddenly you feel an oddly-folded, stiff bit of paper in a discarded pair of worked-to-death pants, last seen at a party a week ago, and missing since in the rising tide of detritus in your room.
You reach into the pocket trying to control your excitement: "It's probably a receipt," you tell yourself "Don't get your hopes up." But coastal fisherpersons sometimes find pearls o' great price in their catch.
Revealed to daylight, the crinkly paper turns out to be a randomly-folded ten-dollar bill that you stuffed in there when you paid for the pizza. Which reminds you that Joe said he'd get you back--that sonovabitch owes you eight bucks!
But now you'll be able to stand outside the laundromat, drawing on the first smoke out of a new pack, watching through the window at the red thong whirling around in the dryer next to yours and wondering whether it belongs to the something-teen blonde in the college sweats or the sixty-something biker chick with the jailhouse tats, as the last of the light fades from a blue summer sky, while smoke fills your lungs, nictotine waters down your blood, and you are filled with the peace of knowing all's right with the world.
And as you wiggle the wadded ten out of the inverted pocket you get just a fragmentary smattering of that feeling, for just a second.
Today I phoned a bank, let's call it Cinquante. I was inquiring about interest rates, as I had a considerable chunk of RRSP money I needed to roll over from another institution.
"Do you have an account with us?" asked the person who doubtless would have been referred to as a Consultant.
"Oh," I said "I had one once ... blank years ago at least. But the investment matured, so I think it's closed."
"Ah," she said after a few nosy questions about my SIN number and my mother's maiden name, "I see it."
"Waitasecond," I said "I have an active account there? I thought it would at least be inactive."
"Nope," she said "It's been active since year blank."
"Wow," I said, not daring to say it hopefully, "How much is in there?"
"[An amount close to five thousand dollars.]"
And although I quit smoking at least two years back, and although I can't touch that money for at least two years, and although I intend to keep it locked up until I'm at least 70 ... for a moment I tasted the fresh burn of nicotine smoke in my throat.