The barista smiles vaguely, not having the faintest idea what I’m on about.
I’m trying to pay with exact change, but my quarters are one pound coins.
I flew home from London with an envelope of English money. I left a big tip for the maid–I’m sure she was happy–because I was too lazy to spend it. Well, I wasn’t so much lazy, as unable to decode the coins without taking off my bifocals. And when you pay with paper, you get change.
My husband thinks the money is cute. “Thank you.” He thinks it’s a gift. He promised to go to London with me next year, but he is afraid of flying, so I’m now thinking, Lake Okoboji.
English one-pound coins are still clanking around in my billfold, Queen Elizabeth on one side, a dragon on the other.
And I’m thinking of that scene in Game of Thrones, you know, where Princess Daenerys hatches the dragon eggs that everyone had thought were dead. Anyway, something like that happens. Daenerys belongs to the “blood of the dragon.”
Does that tell you I know nothing about English history?
It just might!
Anyway, we don’t have dragons on our money here.
My late mother would consider my paying with paper or cards wasteful. She always paid with exact change. There would be a big line behind us and she’d carefully pick out all her quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies. It drove me crazy. As a result, I’m always in a hurry. I get back a ton of change, and eventually take it to the bank and change it into dollars. Magical!
My mother died last August, and after a year of talking to her ghost, I have adopted the exact change habit. It’s kind of the same ritual Daenerys used to hatch the dragon eggs. Now my mother is a happier ghost.
“Does that look about right?” I say cheerfully when I present the coins. God knows, I’m out of practice.
The barista and I have sorted the money, but now, as he goes to pour my iced coffee, he asks, “Do you want ice in that?”
DO I WANT ICE IN MY ICED COFFEE?