In college, when I was working on my master’s, I worked during the day and went to school at night. I still remember my annual salary because I had to watch over it so carefully: $10,500. In today’s dollars, that’s $23,421. It’s a good thing I shared the rent for the tiny, garden level (AKA basement) apartment with three other women.
I never ate out. I ate a lot of homemade soup and rice and beans. I never bought a Coke. There was no reason to spend money I hardly had on something I didn’t need and that wasn’t good for me. But I did remember fondly the days of undergrad when there was free Coke in the dorm cafeteria.
One morning while walking to work, I saw a bunch of stuff ahead on the road. It was at an intersection where I needed to be careful—the entrance ramp to 35W. Cars would be so intent on speeding up for the short ramp that they often overlooked an unexpected pedestrian.
As I got closer, I could imagine what had happened. A Pepsi truck took the corner too quickly, the cans slid and shoved their weight against the back door and flung it open, spilling onto the asphalt. Cans were scattered all over the road and the sidewalk and piled up against the curb. There were hundreds of them—Pepsi and Mountain Dew and 7up. I picked up all the Pepsi and 7up cans that my backpack could hold. It was heavy and the straps cut into my shoulders but I didn’t care. I walked to work giving thanks for this unexpected gift, this abundance of luxury.
More gifts: There were still cans the next day! And even the day after that!
Chewing the Cud of Good
Many greyhounds, when they are happy and relaxed, lie on their backs with their legs in the air. It’s called ‘cockroaching’ and Leda has never done it. Then, this summer, she started making attempts. Leda would lie on her side, throw her legs up, almost reach midpoint, then crash back to where she started. Today, thirteen days before her tenth birthday, she made it to midpoint and crossed over to the other side. She was so excited that she jumped up and ran around in circles, then ran back to me to share her joy. I’m glad that old dogs can learn new tricks and that to do so makes them happy.