Today I was robbed. At least I think I was robbed. It certainly feels like I’ve been robbed. Something that is rightfully mine was taken and I feel a tremendous sense of injustice. Except that the whole thing was really my fault, so I feel a tremendous sense of stupidity as well.
I had stopped at a petrol station to buy some snacks for the kids on route to my parents’ holiday house on the coast. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d just let the kids stay pekish or eat the two week old cheesestiks I’d found in my bag. But no, I didn’t want them to feel the faintest growl of hunger for the long, long ninety minute drive – I mean, god forbid they should do something with their mouths other than chew – and so I stopped at the station.
I headed first to the ATM to withdraw some cash, then made a beeline for the biscuit aisle to grab some Shapes. (And no, I’m not proud of having bought my kids Shapes, but I’m not proud of anything that happened this morning, so there’s no real discordance.)
Within a few seconds of picking up the Shapes I realized I’d forgotten to pick up my cash. I’d withdrawn $200, which isn’t a massive amount, but it’s not small change, either. I raced back the three metres to the ATM to grab my cash which was still waiting in the machine for me. Except that it wasn’t waiting at all.
It had gone.
I couldn’t believe it. I had been gone for all of 45 seconds and my cash was gone. Where the hell was my cash?
I looked around at all the people in the service station, and there were a few of them. Could any of them have taken my cash? I scanned their faces for signs of guilt. They all looked guilty, though perhaps they were just bored, or hungry; after all, it’s not that easy reading the faces of complete strangers.
So I took the direct route. “Did any of you take my money?” I called out to the room at large. “My cash is missing! Did you pick it up?”
“Not me,” they all answered, which meant that either none of them took it, or one of them was lying.
I pushed my way to the front of the counter and cried out to the cashier, “My money is gone! Someone took my money!”
“Are you sure?” he asked. “Maybe the transaction didn’t go through.”