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05 October 2006


Very little thanks for it.

Here's the deal. I went to the Wells Fargo drive-up bank this morning. I deposited a check for $400 and asked for $155 back, making the deposit total $245 with $155 in cash for me. I get the deposit slip and the money. The slip reads "$245 deposited to account and $155 cash back." But as I drove off and fumbled to put the money away at the stoplight, there seemed to be a whole lot of 20-dollar bills in the pile. When I got to work, I carefully counted the money. $255. Sure enough, there was an extra $100.

Hmm. I could keep this $100, the bank will not be able to trace it, it could have been any of their customers this morning that received an extra one hundred in cash.

This money could be mine.

I thought about it. (Blue money.)

But I phoned the bank and told them their mistake. I didn't want a low-paid teller to get into trouble, didn't want to ruin someone's day. I wouldn't feel right using the money.

I talked with the teller and she gave me a little "thank-you" and adjusted my deposit amount.

I felt like I should have gotten a big, huge, enthusiastic thank-you, or maybe a lollipop.

blue money

01 October 2006


I have moments wherein I feel like a glutton when it comes to life. Sometimes this is during a workout, near the end of an aerobic stint. Yesterday it was when the song Gloria (Patti Smith, Horses album) came on my iPod. I felt so alive, moving with the music, high on life. A glutton of life, eating it up heartily and deeply.

(Being 56, I know that the years I'm living now are icing on the cake. The average lifespan in some areas of the world falls far below 56. I just read the book about Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains, where life spans are short due to TB, AIDS, malaria. I, personally, am reminded daily that we are not immune to early lifespans here in the US, as I am a member of childhood cancer e-mail lists. Not to mention other diseases and accidents that take lives. So. I make a point of remembering that each moment is a gift.)

During the rest of the day after my gluttonous-feeling time on the exercise machines, I mulled over what I was feeling and how to convey it to someone else. As with most things, it's hardly likely that I'm the first one who has had these extremely alive feelings while listening to music during a workout. What's this all about?

Some answers came the next day. I listened to the 32nd lecture in my Teaching Company Music course, and the teacher discussed Beethoven's fifth symphony. For the first time in my life, I am listening to Beethoven's fifth with a real ear. Our teacher explains how the fifth symphony is a metaphor for a battle between horrible things happening (in C minor, and dit dit dit dah), and the glory of life (C major). Near the end of the third movement, the glory of life is represented in a stretch of music that makes one want to dance. Our teacher says that Beethoven is using:

"the physicality of dance as a metaphor for life"

Wow. How cool. No wonder I feel so alive when dancing on the stair climber to Gloria.

I highly recommend that you go out and get a copy of Patti Smith's Gloria and of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. A lot of pure fun awaits you. Come on, be a glutton.

Patti SmithBeethoven