A penny for my thoughts

When I see a penny on the ground, I pick it up with the hopes that all day long I’ll have good luck.

I even say that silly rhyme to myself:

Find a penny, pick it up, all day long, you’ll have good luck.

It’s a thing I do, sorta like how I won’t split a poll when walking with a dear friend for fear of us separating some time down the road. It’s superstitious. It’s silly. But it’s me.

With regards to the penny, I only take it if it’s head’s up. If it’s tails, I’ll flip it, so that someone else sees it and picks it up in the hopes of having good luck for the day. (I did not think of that one myself. I saw it in a movie. A Jennifer Lopez movie, in fact. Don’t judge.)

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Do I really think I’ll have good luck if I find a penny head’s up? For a split second, yes. I’m hopeful. Then, to be honest, I forget about it. You’d think I’d be less perplexed by all the pennies I’ve accumulated. And yet.

I didn’t find a penny yesterday, but rather an agorot. It’s the Israeli equivalent of about 3 pennies, and I found it not in public, but on the floor of my kitchen, which is to say, just my floor as I live in a studio. But it was near what one in NYC would constitute as a kitchen. (Stove! Microwave! Dishwasher!)

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It’s no wonder I found it here, as this is where my closets are and I was unpacking. Again. It’s sorta become second nature at this point, as ever since coming home from London in June, I’ve made a habit of continuing to come and go from Somewhere to Elsewhere. The Jews might say I’ve got schpilkas.

When I found the agorot, I didn’t necessarily think it lucky, but it did make me smile. Make me hopeful. Of what’s to come in 2014. Of all that I accomplished and experienced in 2013. The places I went, the people I met.

And then, not two hours after I found the agorot, which I left out on the counter to give me pause rather than immediately relegate it to the coin purse full of euros and pence and kuna and all the other currencies I’ve accumulated, I met a guy. An Israeli, in fact.

Before you go getting all, “Ooooh!” it was totally friendly and the exact thing I’m hopeful for when I see a shiny head staring up at me front the ground: genuine, real-life, non-pixelated connection, devoid of profile photos or about me sections.

Of course, I was looking my absolute finest, and by finest I mean sneakers on my feet, not an ounce of makeup on my face and my two-day dirty hair in a ponytail so you can see the grey streaks my mother constantly stares at before asking why I don’t cover them. Yup. Finest.

I stopped into Taim, which has become one of my favorite lunch spots since starting to work from home, as it’s cheap, close by and delicious. I actually don’t find the hummus or the falafel all that worth tasting for the rest of the day — this ain’t no Ben Sira in Jerusalem — and so I’ve begun ordering the soup, which is, in fact, what caused me to start talking to the Israeli.

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Pita and hummus at Ben Sira in Jerusalem

“How is it?” he asked, just minutes after making space for me to squeeze in at Taim’s tight window counter.

“It’s delicious!” I exclaimed, before going on to tell him about my newfound appreciation for Taim’s soups, which somehow led to us talking about the neighborhood and then self-employment and then Equinox. (No, this conversation wasn’t all about me. Turns out he used to live in the ‘hood, is also self-employed and a member of Equinox. See? Commonalities!)

In fact, it was only until I had about two spoonfuls left that I started thinking, “Oh! I wonder if he’s single…” (This is how I am in general. I can spot a celebrity two blocks away and from behind, but when it comes to noticing single men so that I might, I don’t know, unroll my yoga mat next to them and hence meet-cute, I’m completely oblivious.)

But, it need not matter in this case, as it wasn’t about that. (Though, yes, that’d be the hummus to my pita.) I genuinely just appreciated a lovely, unexpected conversation with someone interesting.

Before he left, he did ask where he could read my writing, so I gave him one of my snazzy new business cards. He remarked on the name of this site, so for all I know he could be reading this right now, which I feel only 5-percent coy about.

Meanwhile, I’ll have you know this is not at all what I had intended to write for my next blog, which I’m well-aware I’ve been neglecting for an entire month. But the agorot got me thinking back and then the lovely and unexpected conversation with a stranger got me thinking forward and, well, when I get thinking in any direction I know the best thing I can do is write. Sometimes I just need, well, a penny for my thoughts. Or, in this case, an agorot. May we all be so…lucky.

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