Monday, July 02, 2007

My small pile of cash

I had some money stolen out of my closet sometime in the past few weeks. It was only $80, but the theft was pretty depressing. Not the fact that it had to have been stolen by one of our party guests last weekend (which isn't a happy thought either); that's more angering, but I'm not really even thinking about that. It's mostly depressing. Normally when I spend money, it comes from Laura's and my joint bank account; any money I spend is technically our money. And anytime I spend money, I have to do some mental calculus to justify spending it at all, instead of using it to pay off debt. So in January I started saving a little money. The Jeff Fund started with $10 of leftover Christmas cash, which I found while doing laundry. And I added to it a little at a time, a dollar or two or three every week, tucked into a bank envelope in the junk tray in my closet. When I had enough cash in the envelope, I went to the bank during my lunch hour at work and changed the pile of ones for a twenty. Visiting the bank to get my twenty-dollar bill seemed like an occasion, like I had done a good deed. It was my own little pile of fun money, which I could spend on whatever I wanted, without having to justify the expenditure or feel guilty. I was planning on taking the money to the book signing on Saturday, so I could buy a pile of new and used books at Don's; that's how I found it missing. I know it sounds silly, but not having that little pile of money I saved for, that I could spend on whatever I wanted guilt-free, is really messing with my sense of order. Not having my tiny pile of cash is depressing.

It's funny -- when I reached for the bank envelope and it wasn't there, I had to do the complete search. I checked all through everything in and near my closet to see if I had maybe misplaced it. I knew it wouldn't be anywhere else; I always put the envelope in exactly the same place every time, in the way that only mildly obsessive-compulsive people do. I think it even faced the same direction every time, though that was more a matter of practicality than compulsion; I put the flap of the envelope against the side of the junk box, to hold the envelope shut. But I still had to check absolutely everywhere to make sure I didn't put it someplace different....

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