When I was a little girl, my dad would empty his suit pockets when he got home from work and leave any change he had in his pockets on my dresser. After dinner I would count the change, and if I counted correctly I got to keep it.
If I counted incorrectly, I had to donate the money to the poor.
More often than not the money was donated to the poor, because differentiating between a nickel and a quarter and their respective values is evidently a task that I've struggled with since I was six years old.
One of my very favorite things in the world is Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee. There is a spring promotion going on at the DD stores around here and iced coffee is just 99 cents plus tax. That brings the total to $1.05 and you better believe that I have been taking full advantage of that sale.
Matt and I collect our change to use for special treats, and since iced coffee definitely counts as a special treat, each morning I grab $1.05 from our coin jar and get my coffee.
One day last week, I rummaged through the change jar for my coffee money and grabbed two quarters and a nickel.
For those of you playing along at home, that is only fifty five cents.
I drove up the street to DD and marched inside with my three coins because I was feeling so confident and superior because HELLO, I COME BEARING EXACT CHANGE. And my superior attitude and I placed an order for "iced caramel coffee with skim milk, sugar, and extra ice please."
"That will be one oh five," said the woman behind the counter.
I handed over my three coins and waited while she looked at them and flipped them over and over in her hand a few times. And then she slowly looked up at me and said, "One dollar and five cents. This? Only fifty five cents."
And I have no reasonable explanation for why I reacted the way that I did. I can only imagine it came from a place of deep embarrassment.
But here is what I did.
I pretended that I did not understand English.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
It must have slipped my mind that just seconds earlier I'd ordered an iced caramel coffee with skim milk, sugar, and extra ice please which is a very particular order for SOMEONE WHO ALLEGEDLY DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH.
I made a few gestures with my hands and pointed to the parking lot like a crazy person. And then I made the walk of shame to my car to scrounge up two more quarters because I'd been so confident in my coin counting that I'd left my wallet in the car.
And to top things off, as I made my shameful exit, the wind caught the door and it flew into the glass window of the store next door, so I looked like a crazy person who knows just enough English to make a very specific coffee order and has an anger problem.
I returned with two more quarters and a red face and sheepishly handed the coins to the lady behind the counter.
Once I had that iced coffee in my hands I literally ran out of the store.
Never to return again.
Because that iced coffee may only be $1.05.
But my pride is worth more than that.
And by "more than that" I mean driving a quarter mile further to the next DD.