I Said No to Some Things And It Felt Great

I had some new experiences on Saturday, and I’d like to tell you about them. I was the first person to show up for breakfast, was one new experience. I looked at a minibar tray of candy and didn’t even consider eating any of it, was another. And the biggest one of all: I cancelled an ATM transaction because the fee was too high.

Punctual brunch happened because I overestimated the amount of time it would take me to get to breakfast WHILE AT THE SAME TIME my friend underestimated. It was a great confluence of events. Being early is super. I’m going to try it more often.

The minibar resistance occurred after breakfast. We went back to my friend’s fancy hotel so that I could marvel at its fanciness (it was fancy). While hanging out in her hotel room, looking at prominently placed minibar, I recalled another minibar of my life, and thought about how far I’d come. Then, I’d eaten expensive M&Ms and thought, I’ll deal with this later. Now I looked at the expensive M&Ms and snubbed them.

Did I still want the M&Ms? Some M&Ms, sure. But those M&Ms, no. I had no urge to grab the bag. The “touch sensitive device” that “automatically charged … any item removed from minibar for more than 20 seconds” may as well have been threatening to blow the room up, is how much I didn’t even think of eating those M&Ms. “I don’t even want that candy,” I said to Lisa. “Me either. Though I do want to experiment with the touch-sensitive device.” She grabbed the bag of M&Ms from its touch-sensitive perch and put it on the counter. “But what if it charges you?” “I’ll pay $5 for science.” I thought this to be crazy. And then I realized how crazy it was that I thought it was crazy. Five dollars was NOTHING, my former self thought. But now … it was crazy. For candy or for science.

On the way out I stopped at the ATM in the lobby of the fancy hotel so I could have funds in case of an emergency (ice cream truck, cocktail, cab ride). I swiped my card, and indicated I wanted $60. And then: “This ATM charges a fee of $3.95 in addition to any charges from your financial institution.”

I paused. Could I do it? I was just one push of a button away from having $60 in my hands and not having to find another ATM, but: I COULD NOT DO IT. I cancelled my transaction. Who would pay that, you might wonder. Well, me, up until that moment. If you’re going to pay $2 plus the $1 from your own bank, $4 plus the dollar from your own bank is actually quite negligible, one might argue. And also probably everyone sitting in the lobby of the hotel. They all looked European and rich as hell.

I didn’t get the cash. I didn’t buy the ice cream. I walked along Central Park East and then I went to the Met, because it showed up right in front of me. Suggested admission is $25. The lady asked the dude in front of me, “Is $25 alright?” He said, “Yes.” I would have said, “No,” but bypassed the question by walking up to the counter and saying, “I’d like to pay $5.” I handed over my card, got my button, and went to see some art. I didn’t think about M&Ms the rest of the day. Later, in a bar across town, I used an ATM with a $1.95 service charge. Some might still cringe at that, but for me, right now, it felt fine.

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