Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gotta know your quarters

A few weeks ago my Dad, a friend, and I were waiting for the bus to head downtown to participate in the Crescent City Classic (a 10K that is always won by Kenyans... wait-- is that redundant?). It was early in the morning and we were all carrying exactly what we needed and nothing more:
  • headphones and ipod----- check
  • house key--------check
  • $1.25------che....
The bus took a little longer than expected and we were kind of cutting it close by the time we saw it lumbering towards us. Anxiously (or slight OCDesque), I checked to make sure I had my fare (for the 4th time), and noticed something strange.

"Which state quarter has Elizabeth II on it?"

My friend, Michael, and my Dad both looked at me.

I inspected the quarter with some asinine sentiments.

"I bet it's some dumb state that doesn't realize we broke away from the British... oh, shit."

"I grabbed a stupid Canadian quarter! Why do I even have this in my change jar? I'm not going to be able to get on the bus. I can't go downtown. I can't run today!"

My Dad tried to insert a voice of reason: "Just pretend like you don't know. Play it cool and see if the machine accepts it."

Now that sounded easy enough, but playing it cool is not exactly one of my strong suits.

The bus pulled up and I got on. I put my dollar in and quickly put in the quarter. The machine spit it out the bottom. The bus driver told me to try it again. And again the machine said "peh- I don't want anything related to a LOONEY, you fool." The bus driver picked up the rejected quarter. "I don't know what this is, but it isn't a coin."

I panicked.

"I'm sorry!!! It's a Canadian quarter. But I live right there! I can run home right now and run to the next stop. You won't have to wait. I promise. I'll sprint. I grabbed the wrong change!"

At that point a good Samaritan stepped in. I think my flailing was making them uncomfortable.

"Here's a quarter. Here you go."

"Ohmygod- thank you so much. I have no idea how that happened. Here- take the Canadian quarter!!"

I got on the bus and sat down with a relieved sigh. The friendly passenger got up and gave me back my coin. "Thanks, but I don't really want a Canadian quarter."

I understood that. I pocketed my silly coin with an embarasssed look and let the lesson of the day sink in:

No state quarter has Queen Elizabeth II on it. None of them. Not even the "dumb ones."

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