Last year, my older son had a sometimes job of exercising an elderly lady’s dog. She had been ill, so it’d been over a week since the dog had been walked. One Sunday, Sarah* called. (Coincidentally, this was the day following the lice debacle and the kids decided the day must begin for me after a mere four hours of sleep.) She asked if I could run some errands for her because her helper didn’t show up. I told her I could.
We arrived half an hour later, as she requested. On her counter, she had a list of items she needed. She crossed off paper towel. She read through the list again and crossed off a couple more items. I saw orange marmalade and water and asked her if she had brands she preferred. “You don’t need to worry about that stuff,” she said as she crossed those items off as well. “I just need a couple things to get me through the holidays.”
“Okay. Which things do you need?”
“I need a carton of cigarettes.”
“And a bottle of LTD.”
I had no idea what that was, until she opened her cabinet and pulled out a nearly-empty bottle of Canadian whiskey.
I smiled and stifled a laugh. Cigarettes and whiskey to get through the holidays. Maybe I should try that!
She handed me her car keys, but I insisted on using my own car. Then she handed me her bank card. “Are you comfortable with using this?”
I hesitated. “Um. Okay.” What I meant to say was, Are you crazy? Of course I’m not okay with it!
“I’ve never had an issue with it before. I have plenty of bucks in the bank,” she assured.
I drove to the place she told me to get the cigarettes. What if she’s setting me up and she reported this card stolen? I shrugged the nagging thought off and chalked it up to writing too much fiction.
I handed the gal behind the counter the empty cigarette pack. “I need a carton of these, please.” I’m sure I didn’t ask like a smoker would. She set the carton on the counter and I handed her the card. Please don’t ask for ID. If she asks for ID, do I run or try to explain why I have a bank card that wasn’t mine?
She didn’t ask for ID. I returned her wish for a Merry Christmas and breathed a sigh of relief, still unable to believe a carton of cigarettes was nearly $57 dollars.
Next, I pulled into the parking lot of the liquor store she said to go to. I wonder if LTD is a secret code for something illegal? Again, I shook off the worries and blamed it on watching too much crime TV.
I don’t drink (except for Lipton on the rocks) so I stepped inside and marveled at the sheer number of bottles. I found the bottle I’d snapped a photo of. Mission almost accomplished. I wondered if I was tempting fate and jail time by using this card a second time.
Again, as I checked out, they didn’t ask for ID. As I drove back to her house, another worry crept into my mind. What if this was a test? She might ask me to score some medical marijuana next time.
Oh no, there wouldn’t be a next time. She’d have to wait for her helper.
The constant worry confirmed what I always knew: I was not cut out for a life of crime (or using someone else’s bank card with permission.) But I did walk away with a new bit of wisdom imparted by our elderly acquaintance. If the holidays get too much, I now know that whiskey and cigarettes can get me through!
*Name changed to protect the wise 🙂
Do you have any secrets (legal or not) for making it through the holidays? I love this time of year, so I don’t usually get too stressed… but it doesn’t hurt to keep ideas on hand!