This morning in the cafe I arrived at the cash register with my meal card to pay for breakfast. I’ve done this hundreds of times, it’s in no way remarkable.
Then my brain kicked in. Or maybe it tripped, or cramped.
The friendly cashier tallied up my purchases. “That will be seven dollars,” he said. It’s always seven dollars, the particular combination of items I’ve chosen over the last couple of weeks. We marveled, again, like we have for the last five or six visits, how isn’t it amazing that it always comes out to an even dollar amount?
So I swiped my meal card, knowing I probably didn’t have quite enough cash value to cover the purchase, and sure enough I was short. “You owe $3.73,” the cashier said.
That’s when the brain kick/trip/cramp started. I fished out my wallet, opened it, saw I had a single bill, and the first thought that flashed through my head was:
Oh shit, I only have a five.
Somehow I managed not to blurt this aloud. I think the part of my brain that was stumbling over the math was also being slapped by the other part of my brain that prevented my mouth from moving and made me just reach out, jerkily, to offer the bill to the cashier, who took it as if nothing was wrong.
If only he’d seen the briefly colossal battle inside my head.