All over the country, people who use Where’s George hold little gatherings where we talk about what it’s like to be currency-crazed nerds and exchange bills so we can go spend them in each other’s regions. I drove down to Hyde Park on Saturday night to attend one. It’s a diverse group of people–skews a little more nerdy than the general public, and the contingent in this area has a lot of toll collectors because, well, we have a lot of tollbooths around here and the collectors handle and can enter a lot of small bills.
It rained off and on while I was driving down. Sometimes it just poured, and I could barely see in the wake of tractor-trailers or pickup trucks. About 25 miles in, I reached for my lip gloss and couldn’t find my purse. I pulled over, searched the car, and realized that wherever my purse was, it wasn’t anywhere in my car.
Now, I had a plastic shopping bag with ten envelopes in it, and the envelopes each had $10 in singles for trading to others. The bag made it into the car. See, I had had everything I planned to bring in my hands when I stopped on the way out to check on Victor, my dwarf hamster. I peeked in, then knocked on the cage, and when I opened up the shelter I realized that I had a dead hamster. (He had some medical issues, and was about 18 months old, so it wasn’t a surprise.) I took him out of his nest, wrapped him in cloth, and put him in a box to wait for burial until the rain stopped.
But I had already been late before I noticed Victor, and now I rushed to get everything together. I managed to grab the bag and my denim jacket, but I set down my purse and failed to pick it back up. I guess.
It was hard to decide–see, I had $100 in cash, my iPod, and my car. What I lacked were credit cards, my cell phone, and my AAA card–all things that you really want to have with you when you’re traveling late at night in a fussy 10-year-old car. My license and registration are also in my wallet, so I made sure to drive exactly or under the speed limit when I wasn’t on the Thruway, and 70/75 max on the Thruway.
Paying for dinner in singles was ridiculous, even if I shuffled the traded bills around and mostly used bills I had brought from home. Using twenty stamped singles makes me look like an ass, more so since most of the people at the gathering don’t mark bills subtly at all. They use stamps like this one, then will throw three or four other stamps on there. They look very….festive. And at least one of them is a person who gets bundles of $2 bills and stamps them, so it’s impossible to use those without people treating you like you’re trying to give them foreign currency.
I did get to see a double rainbow, though, and I hadn’t seen one of those since I was a little kid. That was neat. Other than the gathering, I just sat around the house and rested all weekend.