I’ve successfully survived a week in my new job. Fly to Boston on Sunday evening for a week of training. It’s good to get back into the swing of things with work, and it’s nice that quite a bit of it is familiar territory. Having said that, it occupies a lot of your time (don’t you know). With regard to the ‘blog, this means less time to update it, but more importantly, less time to think about the trivialities that make it up. Which is a shame, given the enjoyment with which the audience has no doubt been reading over the summer.

Money in the US has always caused me grief, but given our length of time here this time, I felt compelled to get it off my chest. (Quite a bit of what I write can be considered "getting it off my chest" as opposed to stuff that I think other people may be interested in. You may have noticed.) Some people will be aware of, even perhaps frustrated by, my compulsion in the UK to have all the notes in my wallet the right way up, with the Queen facing front, and in descending order of size (both monetary and area). So, £50 notes (yeah, right) go at the back, then £20s then £10s then £5s at the front. This compulsion means that when I get change, it takes a little more time than other people might take, as I slot the £5 and the £10 into my wallet hierarchically, but it means peace of mind for me and a known state for my next purchase.

Two factors make this process difficult in the US:

This means that when you get change, you’re often presented with seven or eight notes. Arranging these into the right sequence in my wallet would take quite a bit of time, partly cos there are a lot to arrange, and partly because there are more notes already in my wallet into which to slot them. Anyone with me at the time would probably have walked a couple of blocks before I was able to leave the shop.

The result is that instead of paying a $7 total with the seven crumpled $1 bills in my pocket, I’ll use the $10 bill in my wallet, thus adding to the crumpled wad of ones. It also results in a nightly regrouping for my wallet, where the pocket’s contents are slotted into their rightful place (Washington, Jackson, Hamilton, Franklin et al. all facing front, of course).

I don’t think the issue is going to go away, but as my Dad once pointed out (and I’m yet to find an answer), how do blind people cope? Do they rely on trust with the vendor, or is there a subtle difference in texture for each of the notes? Anyone?


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