Saturday, February 12, 2011

bet your bottom dollar

Today is beautiful and sunny!
Too warm for a winter coat, but too cold for short sleeves or bare legs... it still has some improving to do, but it will be hot and humid soon enough.

I decided to go for a walk to get out of my room and allow myself to do something on Saturday besides taking advantage of the faster internet connection while the rest of the campus sleeps off their hangovers.

So I went outside. I called my grandmother, went window shopping, and talked to my friend Kala on the phone for...well, for a long time. While I was walking down Queen street, I watched my feet as I walked, anxious not to scuff up my leather boots (which are sadly, coming apart a bit) and to avoid tripping on the sidewalk and looking like a tourist. I was stepping over a jutting root when I saw it: a small, plastic, gold and clear card. It was unmistakeable. This was a Starbucks giftcard.

I stooped to pick it up, thinking that it was probably there on purpose; that someone had discarded it after discovering there was only .47 left. But I pocketed it anyway, conscious of the people walking behind me who probably thought "Oh, look at that poor girl scraping up street change. Throw some nickles at her, Winston." And I continued talking to Kala and walking down the street.

Later, I took it to a Starbucks (of course there are 4 within walking distance) and discovered that this beat-up piece of plastic is actually worth: ............................(drumroll, please)...............................

 Twenty two dollars and thirty-six cents. 

Huzzah! Good find of the year! It's even better than finding a $20 on the ground! $2.36 better!

However, after I purchased my grande iced coffee with cream and sugar, I began to feel sad for the person that lost it. I imagine two scenarios:
  1. Mr. Blank is nervous but excited about his afternoon rendezvous with Ms. Whatserface. They have been flirting back and forth for a while now, but he has only recently scraped up enough nerve to ask her to coffee. Today is the day. As he exits the parking garage, he quickly checks his pockets: wallet, keys, gift card. All there. He checks the time on his watch and realizes he is cutting it a bit close. Imagine if she were waiting there, thinking he was standing her up! He shoves the wallet, keys and gift card back into his jacket pocket, hastily neglecting to replace the crucial gift card in his overstuffed wallet. As he turns to walk down the street, he absent-mindedly bumps into a large man taking pictures with a comically large camera. He is so distracted by the size of the lens, he doesn't notice the gift card tumble out of his pocket and land, face down, on the dirty Charleston sidewalk.
  2. Mr. Man is waiting, irritated, leaned against the wall of the restaurant on Queen street. She's late. Again. On purpose. Probably with another guy, or with one of her annoying friends. He spits angrily on the sidewalk. Women. His iPhone is dead, again, so he opens his wallet and starts discarding things he has no use for: that jerk's business card, that movie ticket stub, the "Frequent Eaters" card from that deli that closed, an old Starbucks gift card. It probably has zero dollars on it, and even if it doesn't, she's the only one who likes coffee. As he finds each item, he flicks them agitatedly into the street. Business card. Flick. Ticket stub. Flick. Gift card. Flick. Stomp. Stomp, stomp. Kick. He stands still for a moment, then decides something. He turns and heads towards Subway. Screw her. 
I like the second scenario better because I feel less guilty about taking it from someone who is such a d-bag.

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