I am sitting on the floor, surrounded by patina-ed copper circles. They click as I move them about. I am watching for any that may roll from the depressingly small heap - this is where the baby plays, and she thinks the world is something to savor in a literal sense. Choking hazard aside, I can't help thinking these little metal discs are crawling with who-knows-what kind of copper fed super germs.
Carefully I count them out, making rows of five piles of five. They're slippery in my fingers. Sometimes I drop one or two. See them fall? They land flat, or on edge. They thud, or plunk, or clack. They land back in the pile or they knock themselves into my neat rows and scatter my patient work.
They aren't all mine; I've had to raid my son's piggy bank, too. I asked him, first. He knows we're cash strapped, and we need things like nappies, wipes, toilet paper, and dish soap. He doesn't know what a maxi-pad is, but he knows Mommy needs some of those, too, because she can't quite make it through the week with six of 'em.
As I count, stack, and roll them, my fingers take on a grey tinge. I can taste copper in my mouth. It is an unpleasant tang on the edges of my tongue, and I imagine for the moment it's the taste of failure, of disappointment. It will linger long after the little rolls are spent, a reminder.
I remember when I was a little girl, going down the stairs into the living room of the town house in Florida (3522-B, Gardens East Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, Fl, I have never forgotten that address, place of so many experiences) and sitting at the low coffee table, helping Mum count, pile, and roll coins. I was in awe of her ability - she could scoop up the right number of pennies in her hand and slide them right into the roller, seemingly without effort. I couldn't manage it, and had to put one coin at a time in the paper sleeve. She always had to fold the ends, because I'd end up dropping all the pennies out one side while trying to fold the other.
I thought it was fun. I imagine she was hoping it was enough.
I love rolling change - it appeals to my inner accountant...or banker...or whatever it is that likes rolling change. I also hate it, because these days it means we're down to the wire, or well past it, and have no hope of paper money coming our way in the near future, or at least the near enough future.
So I am on the living room floor, wondering how much lower I will be sinking before I find "up" again, wishing I could just keep sinking down below ground where no one can see me or my shame at the rolled up currency that will make the cashier sigh, brighten her smile a little, and start weighing (they weigh the rolls to be certain they're right, no faith in my damned OCD and inability to mis-roll change. I've never had a short roll, ever) and cause the customer behind me to groan, sigh, shuffle their feet, glare, mumble, mutter, and give me the stink-eye because I'm slowing them down with my archaic method of payment.
The US Mint will be glad to have all those old copper pennies back, I'm sure. I hate giving them up...the new coins are not as nice, don't have the same weight or feel to them. They roll just fine, though.
Bye-bye, pennies. The jar is empty again. Time to wash my hands, try and brush the taste of this unhappy pastime from my mouth.
*In the end, I had enough fro nappies and wipes. I will have to improvise for the rest. Mother of invention, right?
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.