About a month ago I was buying sunscreen for my upcoming trip to Mexico. As I pulled a can of spray on sports-style sunscreen (because you know, I am so athletic), a 100-peso coin fell off the shelf from underneath the can. Immediately I looked around, wondering whether I was being punked. Well, the nice version of Punked, where they give you foreign change. I literally stared at it for a full minute, trying to discern what it meant.
I looked up at the bright cancer-causing fluorescent bulbs of the Target ceiling and implored, Oh Serendipitous Susan (read my book, you’ll get it), what do you intend for me to do with this sign? I was quickly distracted by a young toddler in the cart next to me who exclaimed at the top of his lungs, “it smells like my cousin right here.” In which his mother replied, “Son, that is the weirdest thing you have ever said” and then politely said excuse me as she reached for a sunscreen bottle near my feet.
Unsure of what it meant and feeling in the way, I slipped the coin in my pocket and headed for the check out stand. Only when I got home did I notice that the back of the coin said it was from Columbia. Of course, I was convinced that this meant I was supposed to move to Columbia. So I began searching Columbia on the Internet. The first thing that popped up was the outdoor wear company and then right under it was the Teachers College of Columbia in NYC. I finally found a link to the sovereign nation and did a little perusing. Nothing stuck out to me, so I quickly gave up.
The next day in the grocery store, as I felt the coin in my pocket, I saw the lottery ticket machine. Maybe the Universe was telling me to use the pesos to win a million dollars! So I quickly purchased a $1.00 ticket with Christmas presents on it. Using my lucky coin, I scratched off each box only to reveal that the Universe did not care about my financial gain in this way. So I stuck the coin back in my pocket and went home. (Ok, if I’m being honest, I purchased one more ticket…just to be sure).
Fast forward to breakfast at an Italian buffet in an all-inclusive Mexican resort about a week later. My dear friend leans over with her iPhone and shows me her new app that she got. It was a words of wisdom type app that gives you a daily challenge to become a “better person.” Moments before, we were discussing an extremely overweight child, maybe four years old, at the table next to us who was sprawled out in a stroller that she had clearly outgrown. She had a dress on, no underwear and her legs were spread wide for all to see. Clarri pointed out to me that her app said the day before that when we judge other people we are really just projecting some understanding of ourselves onto others. While I pondered what internal struggles I had that related to obese children’s vaginas, she read the wisdom for that particular day. It said to listen to that little voice inside as it will lead you to where you are supposed to be.
I thought about the book I’ve been reading called “Life on Fire” which told me that I needed to watch out for signs from the Universe and to “listen to my soul.” So I took this app message to mean that somehow that day, I would come to some conclusion on my life’s purpose. Maybe even get some clarity as to what that Columbian coin meant for my life. I had forgotten to bring the pesos to Mexico, especially since I discovered that Columbian pesos were only worth about a nickel and wouldn’t get me very far there. But it still felt like I was on the cusp of something profound connected to this coin, even if it sat in my winter coat pocket on the collect-all chair in my bedroom, thousands of miles away.
Later that day, I sat on the beach watching the sunset. Trying to listen to my “soul” vs. my head, I quietly closed my eyes. Nearby a group of people were speaking in a really phlegmy language. They were passionately talking about something that involved the ardent back and forth between two of the male members. Right in the middle of what sounded exactly like duck calls, I heard one of the men say, “I love Mexico and I love New York.”
I shook my head and tapped my ears while tilting my head from side to side just like a cartoon character to make sure I had heard him right. He immediately went back to discussing whatever heated argument they were having. As their conversation faded back into spit gargling, I found myself deep in thought again. Was this “The Universe” telling me something again? BUT WHAT?
Ok, so I have a 100-peso coin from Columbia, a man who suddenly speaks English saying something about Mexico and New York. But that’s all I got.
When I got back home, I called my mother to discuss what she thought “the Universe” was telling me. First of all, she quickly corrected me that it wasn’t the Universe but God rather that was telling me something. And she then went on to point out that God does not like the lottery (even despite my efforts to point out that it funds local education) and that I was supposed to donate that money instead. I asked her who would possibly need a Columbian coin and without missing a beat, she replied, “The Mexicans!” She explained to me that I should have put the coin under a sunscreen bottle in Mexico and then it would have made its way eventually to Columbia. Heck, it had made its way to Portland. Why couldn’t it make the opposite trip?
Having failed at that recommendation entirely, I still wonder what the heck I should do with the coin. So I’ve been carrying it around in my pocket for weeks now. Not sure if it’s good juju or bad at this point. Just waiting for another sign or to figure out the name of that app so I can find out what my next step is.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I’m insanely jealous of people who are content to not think a lot. I don’t know what happens in their brains – whether they just hear birds chirping in there or if they just operate on simple cognitive commands. Today I will eat three times, poop twice, go to work for eight hours, play fetch with my dog, watch Wipe Out and then go to bed.
(Clearly I’m also very jealous of people with regular bowel movements.)
I bet there is a very simple explanation to this whole thing. Maybe a person went to Target one day and said, “I’m going to really mess with someone today” and placed the coin under the sunscreen. Knowing full well that a naïve little sign-seeker like me would find it and be baffled for weeks on end as to her higher purpose. Gosh, that person is good (and sick, just sick!). Maybe I was punked?
But the little voice inside me (that also tells me eat some cheese, go on, just a little, it won’t be that bad of a tummy ache) still wonders…what if it meant something that I’m missing? What if I am supposed to move to Columbia, or NY, or Mexico or a phlegmy language country? I guess I just have to wait for that next sign and pray to Susan that someone isn’t just fucking with me.
© 2013 D. Willson