I've been collecting change, lately.
I didn't used to. For a long time I rarely carried cash on me at all. But recently, without my meaning for it to, change has started following me around.
I have a small stash in a compartment in the center console of my car. When you lift its cover, two small lights on either side illuminate the coins and other detritus - and your face, if it is dark enough - like the mysterious contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. It used to only be pennies, but I've started dumping the leftovers from my cash drive-thru purchases in there, and so the treasure has grown.
I have no designated place in my purse for my change, so it gets thrown in the main compartment with everything else. This means that when I am craving Sour Worms as a midday pick-me-up, I must dig through layers of coupons, of my several accumulated lip potions, of pens and other forms of payment. It's not just limited to my small, everyday purse, either - the larger tote I take to work also suffers from the curse of the bottom-of-the-bag quarters.
Perhaps even worse is that I begin to make small piles of change for when I think I might get something from a vending machine, and then, for one of a myriad reasons, change my mind. I've started throwing those piles, when I realize I've made them and won't use them, into one of the small plastic sections of my desk drawer at school. That section has started overflowing and spilling into the others.
I have stashes of change in jean pockets. I have a pile in a metal desk organizer in my kitchen. I have a plastic jar of change that I collected briefly before Joley was born, with the idea that it could end up being some sort of college savings fund. I have change in my makeup bags. I have change in a couple small jewelry boxes. And yesterday, I added a small pile of Mexican change in a plastic baggie to my school desk drawer, holding it in trust for a student who used it for a class project.
In class the other day, one of my more unusual students said, "Miss, I know that for the last, like, thirty years or so, our Senate and House - well, our Congress - have been debating about whether or not we should just get rid of the dollar bill." I told her I doubted that was true, since I hoped they have more important things to discuss, but even more so because they haven't bothered to get rid of the penny, yet.
In some ways, I really wish they would. Bills don't haunt me the way those dim little disks of metal do.