Friday, March 11, 2011

The thief, the swindler and the panhandler who realized it

L likes to move things around. No toy in our home is put away fully-assembled, unless it's something L hasn't seen yet. She takes components and arranges them in other places. There are six cell phones on the living room coffee table right now. Two are old discarded ones of mine that no longer function. One is pink plush. One is wooden. Two are plastic and play music.

There are building blocks in her rainbow backpack in her bedroom and there are hairclips, meant to live in a container in her bedroom, in the puzzles cabinet in the basement. That's fair, of course, because there are puzzle pieces in the DVD cabinet in the family room and when I asked L the other day why the fridge looked so naked, she explained that she needed tthe magnets because she needed to put a lot of somethings in the horse's tushie.

Don't be scared. She's not into rectal probing (that I know of); they have a ride-on toy shaped like a horse whose saddle lifts up to reveal a storage space.

What? Where do you keep your refrigerator magnets? It's totally normal that now when I try to remember how many cups are in a quart I consult a horse tushie.

Isn't it?

Her magpie ways aren't relegated to our house, as the cashier at our grocery store who gently let me know my child was shoplifting M&Ms would testify. And she victimizes her school, too, though as soon as I realize she's confiscated something from school property I put it on the front seat of my car, with the noble intention of returning it the next day.

The other day I went in to work early and so I was making the drive, uncharacteristically, by myself. The lovely husband was going to drop the kids off later. There was a guy with a cardboard sign asking for change and circumstances were just right: I was in the left lane so I wouldn't be causing him or me to be a traffic risk. The light had just turned red so I wouldn't feel panicky-rushed. I saw a pile of change in the little not-ashtray spot next to the not-cigarette-lighter-car-charger-port-thingie.

I rolled down my window with a scoopful of coins in my hand and we did our ordinary panhandler/motorist conversation thing.

Me: "Good morning!"
Him: "Good morning! Thank you, ma'am!"
Me: "Have a good day! Good luc--"
Him: "Hey. What is this?"

He was looking in his hand.

"I don't know," I said, curious. "What is it?"

There, amongst a small pile of quarters and dimes and a few pennies, was another coin. He was still figuring it out, but I knew. But the light changed and I had to drive. "The rest is good!" I yelled as I put the window up and drove off.

I owe the daycare's cash register another one of those realistic plastic half-dollar coins. Someone I'm related to had pocketed one recently, and it's long gone now. I last saw it somewhere near New Hampshire Ave and Lockwood, and I can't get it back. Pin It