“My wife said to me, “If you won the lottery, would you still love me?’ I said, “Of course I would. I’d miss you, but I’d still love you.'”~Frank Carson
I almost forgot to buy the ticket. I planned to buy it on my way home from work, driving through the neighborhoods of Lake Worth along Dixie highway. I’ve always thought it was the odd little stores in the poorer neighborhoods that sell the winning ticket. I’m sure this isn’t true, but I like to believe that’s the way the universe works.
Listening to radio, sitting at red lights, I looked for photo opportunities. When I noticed there was only one car in front of the Victoria Latin Supermarket, I grabbed my phone and got the shot before the light turned green.
Further down the road, I realized I should have gone in and bought some veggies and lottery tickets, but I forgot, because I rarely buy lottery tickets, maybe once a year, when the jackpot is huge and the odds are astronomical.
Charlie Rose reminded me about the Powerball jackpot this morning. “I have to get one on my way home,” I told my husband. Eight hours later, I arrived home to find him laying on the floor, moaning. His back was killing him. Really killing him. He was resting on an Ice Pak, a pot of boiling water with a towel simmering on the stove. He’d also taken a muscle relaxer and a Motrim. They weren’t helping. Three weeks after he hurt his back golfing, he tells me he has finally made an appointment with the doctor for tomorrow morning.
He started complaining. He is not the best of patients. He is actually one of the worst patients I’ve ever met. When I helped him up from the floor, he complained about the the way I held his hands.
“Why are you only holding my fingertips?” I was trying to be gentle. Silly me. I yanked him up and got him on the couch.
It dawned on me that I never stopped to buy the lottery tickets. Things were looking bad. He’d probably be out of work for weeks. “I’m going out,” I said. “I forgot to buy a lottery ticket.”
He asked me to get ice cream.
At the Publix down the road, there were a dozen people waiting at the courtesy booth to play Powerball. I decided to shop first, hoping the line would be shorter after I checked out.
I’d come for ice cream and a bottle of wine, and of course the winning lottery ticket. I bought 2 for 1 Thomas’ English muffins, four boxes of cereal because they were also 2 for 1, bananas, cookies to go with the ice cream, and a package of foccacia mix that looked fairly easy to make, if I plan ahead and let the dough rise for forty-five minutes, which isn’t likely to happen most nights.
I chose the register line where the one guy in front of me had already emptied his basket. I emptied mine. Of course, there was a problem. I always pick the line with the problem. He didn’t have enough money to pay the $44.68 he owed. He returned the bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups, apologizing profusely to me and the cashier. “No problem,” I told him.
Counting the money in his wallet, he realized he still wasn’t close. He decided to sacrifice the yogurt. 10 for $10. He had 20, all different flavors, all needing to be entered separately. The cashier waved the front end manager over. The guy who really needed to buy a lottery ticket even more than me apologized again. “I’m bailing,” I told him as I started to re-load my carriage, aggravated but fake smiling.
The line at the customer booth was now almost out the door but I was not going home without lottery tickets so I decided to drive to the Valero gas station at the end of the plaza.
Parking across from three guys who appeared to have been drinking beers all afternoon, I heard them debate whether they should buy more lottery tickets.
The convenience store was empty. I asked the Indian man at the register, “Today’s big ticket is Powerball, right?”
“Yes, it tis,” he said, with that lilting accent I love. I was going to buy two tickets but now with my husband all cranky and injured and possibly out of work for quite sometime, I splurged and bought four. “Two dollars, right?” I asked. It was one of those rare days when I had cash in my wallet. A five and three ones.
“Yes, two dollars each,” he said.
On my way back to the car, I noticed the three drunks were pooling their money for more tickets just as the lights came on at the pumps.
Tomorrow morning when you hear the winning ticket was purchased at a Valero gas station in South Florida, don’t try to contact me. I’ll be on a plane to Tahiti. I’ll post my next blog from there.