Small Humiliations: Part II / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I honestly intended this series to be focused on my own embarrassing moments, but I also honestly intended not to go to Starbucks and buy a coffee this morning, which is where I overheard the following conversation between two men who appeared to have met for something business-related.

Man #1 (bustling in from outside, obviously cold):  "I just did something really stupid."

Man #2:  "Oh yeah?"

Man #1:  "I just put my change in the wrong meter."

Man #2:  "How'd you do that?"

Man #1:  "It was a black car that looked just like mine.  I didn't even notice until I locked my car with my remote, and the lights flashed on a car a couple spots down the street."

Man #2 (laughing now):  "How much change did you put in?"

Man #1:  "All of it. It was completely empty."  (walking up to the counter)  "I'm gonna need a couple more dollars' worth. I fed the wrong meter, if you can believe that."

The guy behind the counter then cracked up, as did several other people in line. Although this mistake registers about a 1.5 on the humil-o-meter, what struck me funniest was that the man seemed unable to stop himself from admitting what he'd done. It was like he couldn't believe it and needed someone else to verify it. It made me wish I had the very same story to share, just so he wouldn't feel so alone.

I also couldn't stop thinking about how happy and perplexed the person whose meter he topped off would be upon returning to that identical black car later on. One man's misspent cash is another man's pleasure, perhaps.