DC has been buzzing with tourists. The Smithsonian and Zoo Metro stations are overflowing. I decided to camp outside the Woodley Park/National Zoo Metro station. It wasn’t long before I saw a woman studying the neighborhood map posted outside the station. I walked up to her and asked if she needed any help finding something. In a clear British accent she politely declined my help. I thought it would be nice to include another British recipient in the Year of Giving. You might recall that Joe from Day 62 was also from England.
Barbara, who hails from London, appeared quite confused by what I was doing. She struggled on whether or not to accept the $10. In the end she said that she really didn’t need the added stress of deciding what to do with the money. I thought the response was kind of odd, but I try not to judge.
So there I was…waiting to find someone else. A woman on her cell phone wearing a colorful scarf and orange heels caught my eye. I waited for her to finish her call and approached her. I wish I had my video rolling to capture her disbelief of what I was doing, but you will have to take my word for it. We moved out of the main flow of traffic and I tried to explain to Katy what I was doing. In the end, she agreed to accept the $10.
Katy was one of the most interesting people with whom I have come in contact. She said that she was fascinated by what I was doing. She immediately asked if she could buy me a drink with the money. I explained that I could not receive anything in exchange for my gift of $10, but agreed to sit down and have a drink with her. We crossed the street and sat outside at a small quaint café.
I ordered a glass of Chardonnay. This was Easter Sunday and she said that she had been with friends drinking wine and feasting on lamb earlier in the day and perhaps a cup of coffee would be best. Our drinks came and the coffee turned out to be lousy. She didn’t complain to the staff or anything, she just pushed it aside and continued with our conversation. I probably would have sent it back.
Katy is a documentary filmmaker who lives in New York City. She is in DC visiting friends. She tells me of a friend who lives in Silver Spring and another that just had a baby boy, Gavin, who she got to meet for the first time.
She said that my project reminded her of an NPR show called Uncommon Economic Indicators hosted by Brian Lehrer. I had not heard of this show which is hosted in NYC on NPR’s WNYC station. (I since found it online and have listened to it) Lehrer asks his listeners to call in and share their views on micro-elements of their lives that might give insight into the greater economic situation. For example, does “traffic jams” at the microwave in the office at lunch time indicate that more people are making their meals at home and bringing them to work to avoid the higher cost of eating at local lunch eateries. I couldn’t find a link to this specific program, but if you go to WNYC and search on Uncommon Indicators you will get several broadcasts that have been done on the subject.
In the middle of our conversation, Katy abruptly changed the subject and said, “I know exactly what I am going to do with the $10.” Nobody has done what she did with the money. You will not believe it! Check it out.
What do you think about her decision? I often say that it is not about the $10…that it in and of itself is almost always meaningless. If I really believe that then her decision only supports that. Although that’s true, I couldn’t help but think that somebody someplace might have benefited from that money. That’s not really fair of me to think though since I give the money randomly every day. Often times I give the money to individuals who do not need it and who use it on a capricious cup of coffee. I expect that several people will comment on how they are not happy with Katy’s decision and her reasoning, however, perhaps the only real criticism that could be made is that the $10 left the economy and now has no ability to morph into other things to keep the cogwheels of our economy turning. I would love to hear the philosophic and economic views that you have on this.
Katy was a very thoughtful and interesting person. I insisted on paying for the coffee and glass of wine and we went our separate ways. She was actually late to meet a friend, but took time to sit down and speak with me. That meant a lot. As she left, she said I had an open invitation for a drink in NYC anytime!