retrieving a tampon is easier. it's circular, so despite the small space, there is something three dimensional to grab. a dime is more difficult: it's small and flat. i took off my ring to make my hand more aerodynamic and still the slot scratched my knuckles.
it's amazing how much time passed -- my hand flailing around. even a bit of pain at having jammed my hand in this space -- before i wondered to myself "what are you freakin' doing? it's a dime."
in my defense: i'd just used that dispenser. sacrificed a dime in exchange for a tampax: regular absorbancy. i can justify my behavior by believing that i was looking at it as a refund. a free tampon is better than a free dime under some circumstances. [although it's not like i could turn around and stuff a tampon into a vending machine as partial payment for a coke].
i briefly considered all the children who had broken their tiny limbs drying to grab a ho-ho from the bottom row of a vending machine. or had been crushed beneath one of those bulky feeders trying to shake free a dangling bag of cool ranch.
finally i eked the dime free and whooped. i took about two steps and twittered my victory, the message as usual went straight to facebook:
Just spent ten minutes digging a free dime out of a tampon dispenser. I realized this was pathetic about 4 minutes into it.
mostly i received strong support for going plus-10 on the day's expenses. but one response sucked the "win" out of my windfall. it came from le leche:
Are you talking about the one that's left in there in case anyone needs it? Shame on you.
i had no idea there existed this sort of woman-to-woman solidarity. this penny next to the cash register at the gas station. this code and this community: we're here to save your granny panties. in case of emergency, use this dime. replace it when you can so that another woman can be spared from macgyvering a sanitary napkin out of one-ply toilet paper and bobby pins.
other people must know this. it's not like an emergency would strike and a lady would stand in front of the dispenser wishing, wishing, wishing she had change for a quarter -- then notice the small dime tucked into the slot. no. you'd have to know it was there.
how did i not know about this? and what other similar luxuries are available to me?
derivatives of "shame" statements hit especially hard. i remember my kindergarten teacher mrs. miller, a mrs. butterworth type, arms folded across her chest saying the words "oh, for shame." shaking her head.
so a half hour later, i put the dime back. so now you know it's there.