Pennies from HELL – Pt.2 – a.k.a. dragging my ass on finishing this entry!
yes, I know it’s been a week since part one, but your friend here IS LAZY!!
…so anyhoo, last I left off, I was schlepping around four tons of coins in a giant Ziploc bag stuffed into a small paper Starbucks bag with a handle, heading to my nearest Coinstar coin-counting machine. all was well until about midway through my trip – at 2nd Ave./18th St. to be exact – I felt the Starbucks bag giving way as I was readjusting it on my lap. holy crap, I thought, if this bag breaks, I’m totally f#*ked! I can’t roam the streets of NYC with a visible cache of change – some homeless guy or out-of-work hipster will mug me! so, clutching that heavy-ass bag from the bottom where the tear was widening by the minute, I kicked the Zippymobile into high gear and started to haul ass – and I mean haul ass, because I was still four blocks and about four looong NYC avenues away from my destination!
now for those of you that don’t know, NYC is an insane asylum inhabited largely by the living dead and no matter where you go. – even traveling at a nice, normal pace in my motorized chair, clueless fools who would embarrass Helen Keller are forever walking into me while texting or yapping on their phones, so you can well imagine the chaos I was creating, zooming along on the sidewalks like I was racing to the Indy 500 finish line, while bobbing and weaving to avoid the zombie masses.
miraculously, I didn’t hurt anyone (too seriously). ok, so maybe I got a little too close to that extremely large minority chick in a midriff/mega-roll baring top who was blathering loudly into her phone and not paying attention, but she deserved it for going out in public like that! whatever, with my heavy change baggie poking through the paper Starbucks bag, in less than ten minutes, I was flying through the doors of the Food Emporium on 14th St. (see below) like I was Dorothy & Co. making that last dash for the Emerald City through the poppy fields!
so I quickly zipped over to where I knew the Coinstar machines were
– yes friends, there were actually TWO of them in there standing side-by-side, but I realized they were too tall for me to work on my own. ok, no worries, I thought, as I tried flagging down a nearby check-out girl to see if she could help, but she ignored me and continued her LOUD conversation with another check-out girl across four aisles of customers. FINALLY, a female employee walked by and when I asked for help putting my coins in, she just stared at me, shook her head and said in perfect Ebonics, “they broke”. “WHAT??? BOTH OF THEM???”, I barked. she walked away and I’m thinking, NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?? I mean, my bag is breaking, I’ve got ten tons of coins ready to spill out into the streets and there are no other Food Emporiums around! this was NOT good.
I ran out of the store and figured that I could just go home and sulk, but a sudden surge of seething fury pushed me to start looking around for another place to dump the change. now I don’t know about anywhere else, but here in NYC, there are banks on every street corner, hell, one of them MUST have a Coinstar machine! I mean, they’re banks for chrissakes – holy temples of currency where you go to get, take, store and negotiate anything to do with money! WHY DOESN’T EVERY BANK ON EARTH HAVE ONE OF THESE DAMN MACHINES IN THEIR LOBBY?? why must I go to a specialty grocery store to dump pounds of change?? and why am I wasting time by pondering all this?? there had to be another Coinstar machine somewhere in the vicinity and I was going to find it if it was the last thing I do! so I do a 360 and see that I had plenty of potential targets: Apple Bank, Chase, Bank of America, Citibank – all within eyeshot. I stuck my head into each one of them, plus a couple of chain drugstores (just in case), all to no avail.
dejected, tired and with a dent in my leg where the coins had been sitting for the last hour, I turned to head home via Irving Place when I saw one last beacon of hope – a Flushing Savings Bank branch!
just as I reached for the door, two nicely dressed women sistas emerged and although I didn’t know if they were employees or customers (luckily they turned out to be the former), I asked if they knew whether there was a Coinstar machine inside. first looking at me as though I was sporting a green hue and antenna, they hesitated for a moment, before one of them spoke up to say there wasn’t. however seeing the frown on my face and the bag of coins poking out from beneath the broken bag, I could tell that they got the drift of my dilemma right away and they kindly stood there thinking out loud for a few seconds about where there might be one lurking. now to their credit, they did know about the machines in the Food Emporium, but I told them that I had just come from there and both machines were down. even more sympathetic to my cause now, their street brainstorming session continued for a minute before one had a lightbulb moment and blurted out, “oh wait, there’s a TDBank on 5th/14th. I’m pretty sure they have one”. holy cow, of course! I’ve seen Regis and Kelly’s commercial for them plenty of times and in one Regis is carting a bag of coins! wow, and I was only a few blocks away!
yes, yes – the end IS FINALLY HERE and with a happy ending to boot! I rush over to the TD Bank, passing a counterfeit Mister Softee on the way and vow to celebrate the triumph of the coins with a choco shake on the way back with my loot. the bank is plush, well-appointed and well staffed. a handsome. nattily attired, black gent came over and asked if I needed help, which of course I did. he smiled when I asked if they had Coinstar machine and he kindly took my battered bag of change. by this time, I was a frazzled wreck, not only from now-over-90-minute-ordeal, but from the 87 degree heat. but aw hell, I didn’t care, their Coinstar was so damn cool – much more modern than the behemoths at the Food Emporium! and, it’s groovy graphics lit up, danced and made really fabulous ca-ching noises when you put your change in – like a tacky slot in Atlantic City!! JACKPOT BABY! I rolled in without a Benjamin in hand and left with a U.S. Grant, two Andrew Jackson’s, an Abe Lincoln, four Georgie-boys and some (ugh) change.
Time wasted looking up where Coinstar machines are (TD Banks were NOT listed): 30 minutes
Time wasted rolling around effin’ NYC trying to find one not broken: 102 minutes
Cruising out of the TD Bank like I just scored a fat, government bailout: PRICELESS!