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Archive for April 13th, 2010

Katy’s decision to destroy the $10 seem’s to have sparked some interesting discussion.  That’s good.

So last week I went to the opening day game of the Washington Nationals.  I have went to the opening day game every year since I moved back to DC.  I thought it would be fun to find someone at the game to give my $10 to.  Well, I had a little trouble getting in the game at first…I thought that I would just pick up a ticket at the stadium, however, with Obama throwing out the first pitch and the Phillies in town, there were no tickets at the box office.

I finally got a ticket after the 2nd inning.

I was standing next to a couple in the outfield section.  That’s right, I only got a standing room only ticket…couldn’t afford much better, but all I really cared about was being there and being part of it.  Well, it’s also nice to win too!

I was waiting until the innings changed to ask the couple if they would be a part of the Year of Giving.  I didn’t want to disturb them while the game was being played.  Well, the inning was going on forever.  The Nationals were getting clobbered.  They pulled pitcher John Lannan in the fourth inning, better than last year when he was pulled on opening day in the third inning.  Clear sign of improvement.

Juan and his girlfriend on opening day (Photo: Reed)

Anyway, by the time I got to asking the couple, the guy had went to get some hot dogs or something.  So I asked the young lady who gave me a look like, “look buddy, don’t hit on me” and assured me that her boyfriend would be right back.  Ok, so I waited, and waited, and waited, and finally Juan arrived with beverages in hand.

I told him what I was doing and he said he was up for it.  Juan is in the landscaping business and was taking the afternoon off.  Juan’s father started the business shortly after the family moved to VA from El Salvador.  He has since handed over the reigns of the company to his son Juan.

Juan originally said he would use the money to buy some beers.  However, a little later he said that he wanted to give me the $10 back if I would give it someone else still today.  Well… I can certainly do that…in fact, I am pretty good at it.  So, back to square one.  I think in the future I might not accept the money back with any conditions.  After all, I don’t put any conditions on those who I give to.  There is some discussion on this from Day 8 when Kevin gave me the money back.

Juan’s nice gesture to give the money back turned into the good fortune for a young guy from Havertown, PA.  Yes, a Phillies fan.  No surprise really, pretty much everyone at the game was a Phillies fan.  Alex was down in DC visiting his friend Brynn who is a pre-med student at Catholic University.  

The 22-year-old fan said he skipped his job as a Project Administrator for a commercial pool company in order to come down and watch his team beat up on the Nationals.  

Philly fans Alex and Brynn (Photo: Reed)

I didn’t want to bother Alex too much more since the game was in progress so I just asked him two final questions.  I asked if he needed anything that I could help him with via the Lend a Hand section and he couldn’t think of anything right then.  As for the destiny of the $10, Alex said it would go toward gas to get him back up to Pennsylvania.

I noticed that people were flooding out of the stadium.  While I was talking to Alex, the score somehow got to 11-1.  And I thought last year was bad when we lost 12-6!

NOTE: I did also try to give to Andrew who was working at the stadium, however he was unable to accept the money due to company policy.  Also, first post I think that I am in both photos that I have posted (if you look close in both pictures, I am in the reflection of the sunglasses!)

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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 help finding something.  In a clear British accent she politely declined my help. It would have been 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 explained to Katy what I was doing.  In the end, she agreed to accept the $10.

Katy at the Woodley Park/Zoo Metro entrance (Photo: Reed)

Katy was one of the most interesting people I’ve met throughout the Year of Giving.  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.

This experience reminded Katy 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, do “traffic jams” at the microwave in the office 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.

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 theory. That said, 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 the 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!

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