I’m a scanner.
I’m one of those people who scan the ground for loose change and when I find it, I pick it up pronto. Most people don’t bother with change on the ground. Not me. I don’t care if the penny’s tails up or if the nickel has seen better days, that is money sitting on the ground.
Believe me, it’s not my frugal ways that prompt me to notice grubby Abes and FDRs among the concrete and asphalt. I am not frugal by any means. I do think it has something to do with my aunt Colette.
My aunt Colette split her time between living in Rochester, where she held a job at one of the high schools as head librarian, and Austin, where her family lived. Having no husband or children, I can see why she would want to come to Austin on the weekends to spend time with her loved ones.
But on one of those rare and highly anticipated weekends where I would go visit her in Rochester, that was something worth looking forward to.
We would walk downtown and visit the fountains and shop at the galleria and eat the best, cheesiest, greasiest pizza I remember ever eating at a little Italian place called Bilatti’s. Then the night would end by her telling stories by lamplight in her tall bed that smelled like rose lotion.
But aside from that, I remember she always picked up a penny, nickel, dime, and on lucky occasions, a quarter from the sidewalk, parking lot, grassy hillside, wherever. She was a scanner.
And her scanning was rewarding. When you walked in her house via her laundry/basement, she had a mug rack hanging from the wall, and on each hook hung a red mug with a pristine white inside. And each mug was full of coins she had picked off the ground – always divided by coin. There were no pennies in the nickel mug, no dimes in the quarter mug. She must have had 10 mugs full of coins and a few left to fill. One mug was reserved for bills she found – mostly tattered ones and an occasional five. This was fascinating to me to see all this money she had found.
So I made a pact with myself the first time I saw those mugs – I would start picking up money I found on the ground. I don’t save them to sort by coin into mug, but they do go into the change jar where they will eventually go to the bank and fund some fun activity I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. One time, I found a twenty on the ground at the MOA and another time there was a twenty staring at me from an ATM money well.
But twenties or pennies, I pick them all up. And if I’m really lucky, the penny will be heads up.
I’m a scanner.