This morning I am running out of my apartment to catch the train to work when in the middle of the hall I see a $5.00 bill.
I look around, bend down and pick it up. Why did I look around first? I guess it felt a bit like stealing so one wants to make sure no one is looking, or perhaps I wanted to see if the rightful owner was coming back for it.
I hold the bill in my hand without knowing what to do next. If it was a million dollars then I could begin dreaming, but $5.00 doesn’t exactly excite me. But that thought shames me, what if this $5 is all the person had?
Since is early morning I am thinking that perhaps the owner lost it last night after coming home drunk and fumbling with the keys. Or perhaps the guy, instead of drunk, he was too tired from his 2 jobs. Or perhaps it is not even a guy!
I do have a tendency to over think things some times, well, most of the time!
What am I am going to do? How can I find who lost it? Do I need to find who lost it? Do I leave it at the front desk? It all seems a bit ridiculous!
I am talking to myself all of the 12 flights of stairs (yep I am feeling smug as I type this for no longer taking the elevator. My butt and legs are beginning to show the effects of this new routine. But we will talk about my butt and my legs in another post).
I am still unsure as to how to proceed and I am now thinking that finding this bill was a stroke of bad luck. Perhaps I should have just left it there. The owner may come back to look for it. But by now if I return I will miss my train. So I continue down.
As I open the door to get out of the building I come face to face with Joe, the super. Yippie, luck is changing! He will know what to do for sure!
As I wave the bill I say: Joe, I found a $5.00 bill in my hall (I can feel the stress in my voice)
He replies: Good for you! It is yours!
Relief rushes through me. I have been given permission to keep it and stop obsessing about it.
Me? Stop obsessing about something? Never! (I do think some obsessions are okay. For example I enjoy obsessing about love and, of late, one particular someone, but I would call that a healthy obsession since it motivates me and makes me happy. My therapist, if I had one, on the other hand, would beg to differ – lol)
Now I am thinking that I should somehow use this money, which was never mine to begin with, for the good of somebody else.
I should just hand the money to the first homeless person I meet. Of course is not that simple, what if that person is an addict and uses the money for drugs. (For the record I don’t think all homeless people are drug users and homeless by their own fault or anything like, this is just the way my mind was working this morning). In that case I would be enabling them to continue with their addiction and end up causing more harm than good.
Then I think that instead of handing the money I should just buy them food, but then a memory comes to mind: About 4 years ago I was on my way to dinner when I saw this homeless person lying on the side walk. I felt guilt beyond belief that I was ready to go eat while somebody looked starving. So I got to the restaurant, ordered food and took to the man. Instead of gratitude I got yelled at the top of his lungs: Get out of it here! Leave me alone! It both scared and scarred me; I thought he would attack me. It occurred to me then that perhaps I don’t have the right to interfere with somebody’s lot in life, especially if I am doing more for my benefit then theirs.
I look at the bill again and it looks fake. Washed out. Oh gosh, I already can see myself being handcuffed and being taken to jail.
While the bill takes most of the thoughts in my mind, one thought slips in: I forgot my apple sitting on the counter at home! So now I have to walk even faster to make sure I have time to grab one at the station. This is shaping up to be not one of my best mornings.
I get there and the apples all looked bruised and past their prime. But a banana catches my eye, it looks perfect! and I do remember a doctor telling me a long time ago that I lacked potassium and should eat one banana a day.
So I grab the banana, place on in the counter and the girl says: $1.50. After my eyes come back into my face – $1.50 for a single banana!!! And it was not even that big! I reach for my wallet and, as everyone could see this coming a mile away, my wallet is not there! I have left my wallet in my tennis bag last night!
I hand the cashier the $5 bill praying that it works. It does!
$3.50 to go …
Moral of the story: there is none! Well, perhaps I can spin it as I am so blessed that the Universe makes sure I have money for my daily fruit!
But this $5.00 got me thinking:
- Do I have a duty to find the owner of anything I find? If money, what is the cutoff dollar amount? $5. $10?
- My contributions to society – or lack of it!
- Who benefits more when you do good? You or the recipient?
- Is it still altruistic if you are doing mostly out of guilty?
- When is it help and when is it interference?
Now on another note: How many of you thought this post was going to be about a whole different matter? Come on! I cannot be the only one with a dirty mind around here! Yes I am feeling a little naughty this morning. Even a nice girl like me has needs!