Thursday, February 15, 2007


Wanna feel seltzer in your veins? Try transporting a large amount of cash.

I'm not a person who peels $100 bills from a wad to pay the big check at a restaurant. I'm not one who vacations with lots of cash or even Traveler's Cheques. No, I'm 90% plastic.

My big-cash experience is limited to decades ago, when I'd help my parents count the collection at church. Afterward, our drive to the bank's depository would be unnaturally silent -- and that was with three of us in broad daylight, in a small town, on a Sunday noon.

Cash is a terrific paranoic: everyone watches you; everyone notices the bulge in your chest pocket or how tightly you're gripping your purse; cars pull out to follow you; the bank teller steps on the silent alarm when you ask if you can take a photo of her counting the money.

Cash is so universally loaded with hope and fear and motivation that a writer can feel some seltzer just by imagining this exercise. But even better details come by carrying it out. Method writing, anyone?

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