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Pennies and detergent | Life of Alvin

Pennies and detergent

Sometimes we spend our lives mindlessly filling up the gas tank, winding our watches and spinning the laundry, and barely thinking about the process. We just want to survive. But then we look inside the vestibule of spinning clothes, and we see a little penny, riding around the metal surface and eroding away at the fabric.

“Huh, how did that get there?”

It was, of course, because we were procrastinating. The thought was that we would take the penny out of our pockets later — once we had escaped to a place more suitable.

The penny begins to clank louder and louder against the inside of the machine. Peek inside, and there are now three pennies. We didn’t even know about the third one.

It is then that we think: Perhaps we should have taken out the pennies earlier. But the clothes still spin and the water still flows.

The time is nearly up. Nearly time for the dry cycle. But a small tremble, perhaps from the nearby highway, shakes looks the remaining pennies from pockets and cuffs. Hundreds, maybe thousands, pour out and bring the machine to a slow crawl. The pennies push the door open, and detergent and copper come spilling out. If you squint, they almost look like milk and honey. Tastes worse, though.

The door dangles by its hinge, but the pennies and the detergent is flooding out. We don’t remember putting in this much soap, or having this many pennies.

And then, finally then, we think: Why have we procrastinated? Does not every place require survival? Why must we think it is only this place that we will wait out?

We reach into our pockets and find a few pennies that have made their way in. We take them out. And we hope that, in the mean time, the machine’s door stays on its hinge and the pennies and detergent don’t drown us.

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