Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gone With the Wind: My $600 Check


"Had my hand on the dollar bill
And the dollar bill blew away"

I Just Want to Celebrate - Rare Earth

The life of a freelance writer is a tough one: You write. You invoice. You wait. But sometimes Nature itself can make things even tougher.

On Monday I received a long-awaited $600 check for a story I completed months ago. Happy at the prospect of being able to pay some bills I decided to drive to my bank--with a scheduled stop to pick up some coffee and a bagel.

As I got out of my car at Fifth Ave. and 4th St. in Brooklyn in front of Junior High School 51, I momentarily placed my mail, including the envelope with the $600 check in it, on the roof. And then it happened...

A sudden gust of wind blew everything off the roof and high up into the air. The mail swirled and danced wildly 20 feet in the air before falling back to earth and jumping up again. I jumped, grabbed, stomped and did whatever else I could do to corral all the envelopes. When all was said and done I had recovered all my mail--except, of course, the envelope with the $600 check in it.

Curses! Son--of--a--bi...!

As I fumed, a passerby who had witnessed the entire comedy walked up with a smile and told me that I wasn't going to believe where the last envelope had landed. And then he pointed. He was right--I didn't believe it.

The envelope was wedged in the frame of a metal window gate on the second floor of the school, far, far out of reach. I took a photo with my cell phone (see above) because I knew no one would believe such a story without some evidence. What are the chances?

However, as bad as my luck was at that moment was as good as it got a few moments later.

I looked to the left and noticed that working outside the school were two maintenance men who just happened to be installing a fire alarm buzzer on the outside of the school--just below the second floor window. And they were using a long ladder! Now what are the chances of that?

After explaining my plight, one of them moved the ladder and retrieved the fugitive envelope. And he wouldn't even let me buy him a cup of coffee for his efforts.

Of course after all of that, I couldn't get the check to the bank fast enough.

So what's the moral of this wind-blown tale? Hang onto your wits and your money. You'll need both to survive as a freelancer.

Copyright 2007 Stadium Circle Features

2 comments:

just a guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert S. Anthony said...

Good point! I actually had to delete a photo in my camera phone to free space to snap the photo of the envelope. I was so flustered when the guy agreed to retrieve the envelope I neglected to take another photo. Take care.