Dime


On the first day, I noticed the dime. The gleam of shining silver caught my eye through a mesh of chain link fence that divided the parking lot, where the dime lay, from the sidewalk where I was walking. From my vantage point, I could see the dime, but not reach it. So in spite of my compulsion to pick up coins off the ground, I continued on without stopping. The train wasn’t going to wait for me. 

On the second day, the dime was still there. I wondered why no one else had picked it up- in the low sunlight it seemed to stand out like a beacon. It was impossible to reach through the fence, but the fence wasn’t that difficult to get around- it opened into a gate ten or fifteen feet down the sidewalk from where the coin caught my eye, but it was ten or fifteen feet that I would need to backtrack just for the sake of picking up a dime. Which felt a bit silly. And the train wasn’t going to wait for me, so I continued on my way. 

On the third day, I remembered the dime before I saw it. I didn’t know if it was still there, but I thought I might as well take the detour and find out. Stepping off the sidewalk, I diverged into the parking lot. From here there was no sign of the dime. The day was cloudy and the light was dull. If the dime wasn’t there I’d look foolish, but only to anyone who happened to be looking. I was nearly standing on it by the time it caught my eye: still there. I picked it up. Nearby, a second shape caught my eye- a nickel. And beyond that, a penny. I hadn’t seen either of these from the sidewalk- it’s likely that I wouldn’t ever have seen them if I hadn’t taken the detour. 

I have to wonder what it says about me as a person that I will take a detour just to pick up a dime off the ground. I have to wonder what it says about me that it took me three days to do it, and that I would rather plan ahead to take a blind risk than to backtrack long enough to pick up a sure thing. Whatever it says about me, the bottom line is still that I’m still sixteen cents richer for having done it. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 4, 2017.

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