Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I Tawt I Thaw a Puddy Tat

So there I was, seated at the traffic police section of the police headquarters, waiting for my number to be called, deep into Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, the short, short chapter on control. I liked the way this book was laid out and the short chapters (from which Natalie Goldberg got her inspiration to write Writing Down the Bones) and I didn't bother to check my wallet to see if I had enough money to pay for the fine.

Of course, the only reason I was fined in the first place was that in an attempt to get away from home and work somewhere else, I had taken myself to a nearby Starbucks and parked illegally so as not to pay the exorbitant parking rates there. Nothing as exorbitant as what I would have to be forking out now for my fine.

Somewhere at the back of my mind I was vaguely aware of a RM50 note in my wallet so I was none too fussed about it. I didn't even bother to check.

Finally my number was called and as I dug into my wallet and ran my finger through the notes, I swallowed nervously. No, it couldn't be. There was RM26 there, two 10s and six singles. What about the RM50?

I checked and re-checked and in the meantime the police cashier starting getting restive. I mean, it was only RM30 for crying out loud. Surely I had that much on me?

I didn't.

Actually I did if I counted the coins, but I was way too flustered to think of pouring out all the coins and counting out RM4. So I asked if they accepted credit cards, she said they didn't, gave me back my summons and I removed myself from there with all speed.

All the way home I fumed. How could I have lost that RM50? I ran my mind over all the things I had bought in the past few days since I last visited an ATM machine and took out RM100. Well, there was that RM10 that I had to add to the credit card payment. And then there was RM2.05 for that card to Helen, the card, mind you, that I had made myself (no more am I going to fork out impossible amounts for Hallmark). And then there was that RM5.15 for water (the cheapest thing I could buy to sit at Starbucks). And today, there was about RM12.05 at the grocers for a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and grape jelly. How much did that come to? Oh yeah, and there was RM3 that first day, for a loaf of multigrain bread. (have since decided to shift to white because it's cheaper, lasts longer, and I'm nearly out of money till my next cheque which, knowing this company, will take its time in coming).

So that was little over RM30. I know I had some money left when I withdrew RM100 on Sunday. Where could it have gone? Where could I have dropped it? I ran through various scenarios in my mind as I drove home, completely flummoxed.

When I got home, I overturned my large large bag and set to work. Checked every compartment of my voluminous wallet (emptying it of sundry receipts, hey lookie here...there's the receipt for RM180 for the passel of books I bought from Kino just Friday...oh well, books, you know...it's not a waste of money, it's a tax deduction) I carefully put away the receipt in the envelope marked "Book Receipts 2010" in my tax file. (Yeah, who knew I could be so organised...that filing cabinet changed my life, it did)

And then, there was a faint glimmer of light. Or the cousin of light. I didn't withdraw RM100 on Sunday. I withdrew RM50. Which meant that...I was lucky to have the RM26 in my wallet at all.

Oh dear. I thought of the chapter on control that I read, which urged us to watch our chaotic thoughts, just observe and do nothing about them, feel nothing about them. The first two chapters had to do with posture (fail) and breathing (also fail).

So I sat down, all Zen-like, acknowledged that I had messed up, made myself a pot of tea, and settled down before our rather large television set, popped in a DVD of random Grizzly Adams episodes, and read my Robert Graves memoir.

Now it's Sergeant Bilko on. And I guess I'll read some of my notes.

Just Zenning in the Rain.

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